Lucknow, May 5 : The family members of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh looked relaxed on Sunday, a day before Lucknow, to vote for the crucial Lok Sabha election.
There is no anxiety, but there is concern whether Lucknow will come out and vote on Monday. ''Please cast your votes. This is most important. Lucknow should ensure a heavy percentage of polling in this election. Come, vote and then relax,'' Mr Singh had said, during one of his road side election meetings last week.
Polling percentage in Lucknow has always been poor. In the last four elections, the percentage has barely crossed 53 per cent mark and it was yet to break the 60 per cent mark. ''In short, I can say that Lucknow is yet to get first division, as far as election and polling percentage is concerned,'' a senior official in the Election Commission said on Sunday.In 2005 and 2009 elections, the voting percentage remained at an abysmal 35 per cent mark. This was a considerable decrease from 48 per cent voting percentage in 1999.
The concern of Singh's family and that of Election Commission is same. Both want people to come out and vote. The District Administration had even operated `chunavi paathshala’. At least 442 such classes were operated across the district.
''Yes, we are concerned about low percentage of polling. Lucknow is notorious about low percentage. The highest polling recorded till now in Lucknow is 54.2 per cent. We surely want to increase it and bring it close to 60 per cent,'' Neeraj Singh, younger son of Mr Rajnath, told this reporter.
Mr Rajnath has a huge chance of winning in the seat considered a BJP stronghold. The party has held the seat since 1991. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee won from the seat for five consecutive terms.
While Mr Singh is considered a political heavyweight, his opponent Poonam Sinha of Samajwadi Party is contesting for the first time and Acharya Krishnan of Congress unsuccessfully contested from the Sambhal constituency in 2014.
In this scenario, there is a fear that voters could become complacent and do not come out to vote in Lucknow.
''This fear is always there. In one of Atal ji's election people took it for granted that he is winning and did not come out to vote. That time polling percentage dropped to 38 per cent,'' Neeraj said, adding that he believes that this time, voters will not be that complacent because media and social media has been educating people to vote.
Singh has been a politician for over four decades. He was made the District President of the Jana Sangh in 1975. He became an MLA in 1977 and became an MP in the Rajya Sabha in 1994. He was the minister of agriculture in Vajpayee’s cabinet between 2003 and 2004. He was also the president of the BJP before Amit Shah from 2013 and 2014. He was CM of UP between 2000 to 2004.(UNI)