UP Polls: Contest for Lucknow North Heats Up as SP Pits 25-year-old Pooja Shukla against BJP MLA Neeraj Bora

The contest for the Lucknow North assembly seat is creating a buzz with the Samajwadi Party fielding 25-year-old student leader Pooja Shukla against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Partyโ€™s Neeraj Bora who is also the incumbent MLA from here. Shukla came into the limelight in 2017 after she went to jail for showing black flags to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath near Lucknow University.

Shukla had been campaigning extensively even before her candidature was announced. She has been associated with the student wing of the SP and has been the national vice president of the Samajwadi Chatra Sabha.

Speaking to News18, she said, โ€œFor how long rich people will talk about poverty and take our votes? This time a girl from a poor family is contesting for the people and I am thankful to our party chief, Akhilesh ji, for giving me a chance. No matter what the sitting BJP MLA says, one can go around in this constituency and see for themselves how bad the conditions are. The issues of SP like the old pension scheme, 300 units of free electricity and other promises are resonating well with the people. Apart from this the local issues of Lucknow North will also be addressed. The people of Lucknow North are not just supporting me but it is they who have given me the strength to fight for them.โ€

Shukla, who is just 25 years old, is probably one of the youngest candidates in the 2022 UP assembly polls. The party also aims to reach out to Brahmins by fielding her from this seat.

SPโ€™s Abhishek Mishra became an MLA here in 2012. The party will now be trying to win back the seat, while the BJP will be looking to repeat the success of the 2017 UP assembly polls. According to the data from that year, a total of 3,36,777 voters were registered on this seat, which is expected to increase this time.

The BJP has reposed confidence in Neeraj Bora who had defeated SP MLA and former minister Abhishek Mishra by more than 27,000 votes in 2017. The Samajwadi Party has nominated Mishra this time for the Sarojini Nagar assembly seat to take on BJP candidate and former police officer Rajeshwar Singh. The Congress has fielded Ajay Kumar Srivastava from Lucknow North while the BSP has given a ticket to Mohd Sarwar Malik who can hurt the prospects of the Samajwadi Party by grabbing some Muslim votes, say analysts.

Speaking to the media, Bora said, โ€œI want to thank the party leadership for showing faith in me. Immense development has been done by our government in the Lucknow North constituency. Roads were made, a 100-bed hospital is coming up, apart from this health centres were established. Work was also done in the education sector. Three power stations were made, the mandi was revamped with Rs 35 crore, Gulala Ghat and Kudiya Ghat were beautified, Gol Darwaza was also beautified, flyovers were made while many other development projects are underway. I have been getting immense love and support from the people of my constituency. I will continue to work for the people of my constituency. I am sure they will choose me once again.โ€

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