Yogi’s Ministers Feel the Heat in These Polls
Prestige at stake
LUCKNOW: They may not be contesting the Lok Sabha elections but their prestige is at stake in over a dozen constituencies in the state.
These ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government claim to have done a great deal of work in their respective constituencies and the results of the Lok Sabha elections will prove their clout which, in turn, could also have a bearing on their future in the state government.
UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma and UP Minister for Dairy Development belong to Mathura from where BJP MP Hema Malini is seeking re-election.
Hema Malini is said to be facing an anti-incumbency wave and the ministers have been entrusted the responsibility of ensuring her return to the Lok Sabha. Mathura is a prestigious seat and Kunwar Nagendra Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal is giving her a tough fight.
In Allahabad, the home constituency of UP ministers Siddhartha Nath Singh and Nand Gopal Nandi, another minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi is the BJP candidate. The outgoing BJP MP Shyama Charan Gupta has already defected to the Samajwadi Party. UP minister Nand Gopal Nandi was lobbying for a ticket for his wife and is said to be upset with Joshi’s candidature.
The victory of Rita Bahuguna Joshi depends largely on the popularity of BJP ministers. Rajesh Kumar, a petrol pump owner in Civil Lines, says, “The ministers’ popularity is ebbing and it is not be a cakewalk for the BJP.”
UP Cane Minister Suresh Rana belongs to Kairana parliamentary seat from where the sitting MP of the SP-BSP alliance, Tabassum Hasan, is seeking re-election. Tabassum Hasan had won the by-election defeating Mriganka Singh, daughter of Hukum Singh whose death necessitated the by-poll.
As the joint RLD-BSP-SP candidate, Tabassum Hasan enjoys a distinct advantage while the BJP faces anger because of mounting cane arrears in the area which is the sugar cane belt of the state.
UP minister S P Singh Baghel is himself a candidate from Agra reserved constituency. The outgoing Agra MP Ram Shankar Katehria has been shifted to Etawah and the local party workers are not too happy with the change.
In Bareilly, Union minister Santosh Gangwar is seeking election for a eighth term in Lok Sabha and two senior UP minister Rajesh Agarwal and Dharampal Singh belong to this constituency. Both the ministers have been asked to remain in the constituency and campaign for the candidate who is pitted against former Congress MP Praveen Aron.
State minister Atul Garg belongs to Ghaziabad and has been entrusted the responsibility of ensuring the victory of union minister Gen (retd) V K Singh.
BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal is seeking election from Saharanpur where he is being challenged by Imran Masood of Congress. UP minister Dharam Singh Saini who belongs to the constituency is in charge of the MP’s election campaign.
According to a senior BJP functionary, the role of the ministers will be discussed threadbare after the elections are over.
“When we analyze the results, we will also assess the performance of ministers and necessary changes will be made thereafter,” he said.