LUCKNOW (TIP): The Samajwadi Party on March 27 fielded Abhishek Mishra, minister of state and MLA from Lucknow North, against BJP chief Rajnath Singh in Lucknow. Mishra, a former IIM Ahmabadbad faculty, replaces Ashok Bajpayee, whose candidature was announced long back. Poll pundits though feel substituting Bajpayee with Mishra may not change the party’s fortunes drastically.
The only advantage Mishra, a PhD from Cambridge, may bring with him is a better knowledge of the constituency. Sources said the SP was in two minds over Bajpayee’s candidature ever since Rajnath’s name was declared by the BJP. The alteration by SP, though, is more likely to be a cause of concern for the Congress party than the BJP, with Mishra’s candidature likely to split votes.
With Mishra’s candidature, though, the SP hopes to reduce the number of Shia Muslim votes for the BJP. A section of Shias of Lucknow have been voting from BJP, thanks to the goodwill of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who has represented the constituency five times. Besides, even if he does not do well, Mishra has little to lose; both his assembly seat and ministry remain intact.