The Bharatiya Janata Party may find the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his five-time constituency of Lucknow inseparable. BJP president Rajnath Singh will sport an ‘angavastra’ (stole) sent to him by Mr. Vajpayee when he files his nomination for the Lucknow parliamentary seat on Saturday.
Displaying the “angavastra” at a press conference at the BJP’s state headquarters here on Thursday, Lalji Tandon said one cannot imagine contesting from Lucknow without “Atalji.”
The BJP has found it difficult to go to the electorate without invoking the former Prime Minister’s legacy ever since Mr. Vajpayee contested and won his last election from Lucknow in 2004.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Mr Tandon got a letter written by Mr. Vajpayee to the electorate with an appeal to ensure his victory. Mr. Tandon won the poll by a margin of just 40,901 votes over his nearest rival, Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the Congress. This time Mr. Tandon has been replaced by Mr. Singh.
Mr. Tandon added that besides himself, S.C. Rai (former Mayor of Lucknow), Shiv Kumar and Dinesh Sharma (Mayor of Lucknow), who had proposed Mr. Vajpayee, when he filed his nomination in 2004, would accompany Mr. Singh’s entourage from the BJP office to the District Collectorate on Saturday.
Mr. Vajpayee’s aide Shiv Kumar said the former PM decided not to contest elections after 2004 even though he had great love and affection for Lucknow and its people.
On his recent visit to Lucknow after being declared the BJP candidate, Mr. Singh invoked Mr. Vajpayee’s legacy and described the State capital as the former Prime Minister’s “karmbhumi” (place of work).