Top contests of 2014: Rajnath Singh vs Rita Bahuguna vs Jaaved Jaaferi

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Rajnath Singh vs Rita Bahuguna Joshi
Lucknow, March 27: Lucknow, the "city of nawabs" is the VIP constituency of Uttar Pradesh out of total 80 parliamentary seats.

The Lucknow legislative assembly segments are Lucknow West, Lucknow North, Lucknow East, Lucknow Central and Lucknow Cantt.

This year, Lucknow will see a change in its political history as the BJP President Rajnath Singh will be contesting for the first time from the heart of the UP, by replacing the sitting MP and party veteran Lalji Tandon.

Uttar Pradesh, whose borders stretches from Delhi to Bihar, elects 80 out of 543 Lok Sabah members and that's why always play a crucial role in the national politics.

Lucknow has some 450,000 Muslims, 350,000 Brahmins, 150,000 Vaishyas, 125,000 Kayasths, 100,000 each Yadavs and Dalits, 60,000 Thakurs and a sizeable presence of people from Uttarakhand (175,000 votes).

[Read Top contests of 2014]

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2009 result: Lalji Tandon won and got 2,04,028 votes and defeated Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who got 1,63,127 votes.

Lucknow will go to polls on April 30 in the fourth-phase of UP polls.

About Rajnath Singh (BJP)

The BJP National President Rajnath Singh, who represented Ghaziabad constituency three times, is now contesting fron the "karmabhoomi" of the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

On Wednesday, he started his election campaign from Lucknow by accompanying Vajpayee's personal assistant Shiv Kumar and the incumbent MP Lalji Tandon.

While addressing the media in Lucknow, Singh said, "I have come to contest from the constituency of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee."

Singh has claimed to be Vajpayee's "inheritor" as he has promised to fulfill the dreams of Vajpayee by making Lucknow a bio-tech city.

Party insiders have said that Rajnath Singh may attempt to woo OBC, upper caste and Shia voters. [Read more]

About Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Congress)

President of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi is banking heavily on Brahmin votes to defeat his BJP rival Rajnath Singh.

64-year-old Rita Bahuguna Joshi is the daughter of the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Hemwanti Nandan Bahuguna and sister of the former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna.

Joshi, a teacher by profession, is known to be advocating about women rights and women empowerment.

On International women's day, this year, she said, "We have gained our rights and for women the sky is the limit. We don't want to limt oursleves anymore. We have to gain strength. There is no peace, no harmony if women don't feel safe and secure. Till there are social issues and conflicts, women will continue to suffer."

Joshi was arrested after being charged with denigrating BSP chief Mayawati and Dalits in a speech on July 15, 2009.

But later, she apologised for her remarks and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the arson attack on her house.

About Jaaved Jaffery (AAP)

Popular comedian, dancer and Bollywood actor Jaaved Jaffery is the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) candidate against BJP's powerful politician Rajnath Singh and other contestants.

Jaafery, a Muslim belonging to the Shia sect, may attract a few voters, but his lack of connect to the VIP constituency Lucknow may play a spoilsport.

Even, Shias are also reportedly drawn towards the BJP, but his "celebrity status" may earn him few votes.

Recently, while talking to a news channel, Jaffery said, "I am convinced with AAP's manifesto and that's why joined the party to bring change in the country."

While outlining his agenda, he said that his objective will be to wipe out corruption, communalism, poverty away from the society.

On being asked that he is pitted against Rajnath Singh, Jaffery confidently said that he is an Indian and can contest from anywhere. He also said that the aam aadmi has given him the opportunity to contest the elections."

Jaffery, whose roots are based in Madhya Pradesh, also appreciated AAP's 49 days of governance in Delhi.

On Thursday, he staged a sit-in at Lucknow airport as he was denied permission to hold a roadshow.

About Abhishek Mishra (Samajwadi Party)

Ruling Samajwadi Party on Thursday replaced its Lucknow candidate Dr Ashok Bajpai with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's close aide Abhishek Mishra.

Considered as the "poster boy" of the SP government, Akhilesh Mishra is a popular candidate, that's why SP took a sudden decision to replace their Lucknow candidate as the heavyweights like BJP President Rajnath Singh and Congress party's Rita Bahuguna Joshi are contesting from the VIP constituency.

35-year-old Mishra is the Science and Technology minister in the UP cabinet and had secured a stunning victory from Lucknow North constituency in 2012 assembly elections.

Analysis: The BJP National President Rajnath Singh can win the Lucknow seat, considering his hattrick-win in Ghaziabad. Also, his mantra of riding on "Vajpayee's legacy" can turn the tide in his favour. In the past too, the Lucknow seat has been in BJP's kitty since last 23 years.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi cannot be seen as a major challenger in front of Rajnath Singh's national stature. In 2009 too, she failed to be in power against BJP's Lalji Tandon by 40,000 votes.

SP's cunning move to replace Ashok Bajpai by young and popular face, Abhishek Mishra may ring the "surprise bell" in Lucknow.

AAP's Jaaved Jaffery's candidature is not being taken as seriously by the political observers.

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