LUCKNOW: While ending all speculations on Tuesday, the Samajwadi Party on Tuesday named Poonam Sinha, wife of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha as alliance candidate to challenge Union Minister Rajnath Singh in Lucknow. She will file her papers on April 18, the last day for nomination of the fifth phase in which Lucknow will vote.
Lucknow parliamentary constituency had fallen in the kitty of SP during alliance seat-sharing process. Suspense had been prevailing over the name of SP candidate though speculations over Poonam’s name were rife for quite some time.
Even her husband and former BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha had paid a few visits to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in the last couple of months in this connection.
Initially, there were rumours that Shotgun would contest from Varanasi against PM Modi on an SP ticket but it was all put to rest after the actor-turned-politician chose Congress and got a ticket from his traditional Patna Sahib seat in Patna.
Now, the present scenario projects the couple trying to test poll waters from different parties. “It is sheer opportunism. Wherever you get an opportunity, you grab it ignoring the ideologies. It shows sheer desperation for stature and power,” says a senior BJP leader reacting to Poonam Sinha contesting from SP and Shatrughan Sinha from Congress.
As per highly placed sources, Congress in all probability, would extend support to Poonam Sinha’s candidature, in order to minimise division of opposition votes against Rajnath Singh.
Though SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had claimed that he was ready to take risk and look beyond the caste arithmetic of the alliance while choosing the candidate for Lucknow, his choice hints at the intent to breach the both ‘kayastha’ and Sindhi votebanks which have been backing the BJP for long in Lucknow. Shatrughan Sinha is a kayastha and Poonam a Sindhi, so the alliance is pinning hopes on their star appeal to woo voters of their respective caste blocs.
In fact, Lucknow has four lakh Kayastha voters and 1.3 lakh Sindhi voters apart from 3.5 lakh Muslims. The alliance thus expecting a major push to Poonam’s electoral fortune as she is debuting from Lucknow.
The Lucknow parliamentary seat is considered to be a BJP stronghold since Atal Bihari Vajpayee era. Vajpayee represented this seat five times from 1991 till he hung his boots in 2004. In 2009, Lalji Tandon won it followed by Rajnath Singh in 2014.
Earlier on Tuesday morning Poonam Sinha accompanied by her sons and other relatives reached SP headquarters in Lucknow to take party’s primary membership in the presence of Dimple Yadav as th P chief was away in Agra for alliance’s joint rally.