As of 2:15 pm, the BJP's Rajnath Singh was ahead in Lucknow, with nearly 58 per cent of the votes counted, according to updates reported by the Election Commission of India. He was more than 2.4 lakh votes ahead of his nearest rival, Poonam Sinha of the Samajwadi Party, who received nearly 26 per cent of the votes counted.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared a special connection with Lucknow, representing the Uttar Pradesh capital in the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms. And since his first win in 1991, the city of Nawabs have been a BJP stronghold. After Vajpayee, it was his protégé Lal Ji Tandon, another senior BJP leader, who won Lucknow once in 2009 before union home minister took over the constituency. In 2014, Rajnath Singh the sitting MP of Ghaziabad was moved to contest from Lucknow, a safe seat for BJP. Singh received more than 50 per cent of the votes defeating Congress leader Rita Bahuguna.
This election, however, it was SP’s fresh face in Poonam Sinha that turned everyone’s attention to Lucknow. The mahagathbandhan candidate and Shatrughan Sinha’s wife is hopeful of benefiting from the vote share arithmetic working in her favour. Going by the vote share in 2009, in the non-Modi wave elections, SP-BSP together received 33 per cent of the votes, about a per cent less from BJP’s share. Sinha’s selection as SP’s face hasn’t gone down well with SP workers who also protested when Shatrughan Sinha, who recently quit the BJP and joined the Congress, ruffled some feathers by joining her at her roadshow ahead of filing nomination.