Hoardings displaying AK-47 await Sanjay Dutt in Lucknow

January 16th, 2009 - 11:48 am ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj PartyLucknow, Jan 16 (IANS) Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, who is expected to reach here next week to begin his campaign for the Lok Sabha elections as a Samajwadi Party candidate, will be greeted by hoardings that rake up his past and the criminal case against him.Put up at over a dozen prominent places by a group that calls itself the Anti Terrorist Forum of Lucknow (ATFL), the hoardings read “Lucknow is our heaven, we do not want AK forty seven”.

The hoardings also carry a big picture of the AK-47 rifle, mentioning that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai used it.

Dutt was convicted for illegal possession of an AK-47 rifle after the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. His appeal against the verdict is pending in the Supreme Court.

Last week, Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh had announced that Dutt would be the party’s candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow and if the star was not allowed to contest the polls because of the ongoing criminal case against him, his wife Manyata would become the candidate.

“We are strictly against any candidate from any party who has a criminal background and our protest is not only against Sanjay Dutt,” said one of the founder members of ATFL, not willing to be named.

The member, a postgraduate student of Lucknow University, denied that his group had any association with any political party.

However, the Samajwadi Party strongly feels the hoardings have been put up at the behest of the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“All the hoardings have been put up at prime locations, which earlier used to flaunt the chief minister’s hoardings. This has been done to malign the image of our candidate. No one in the city could dare to put a hoarding in place of that of the chief minister if he didn’t have permission from the ruling party,” Shivpal Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party’s acting state president, told IANS.

No one from the BSP was available for comment on the issue.

Dutt is not the first Bollywood personality to attempt a foray into politics from here. Muzaffar Ali twice contested from Lucknow on the Samajwadi Party ticket but he never won. Raj Babbar also tried his luck once from Lucknow but in vain. He later won the Agra seat on the Samajwadi Party ticket before quitting the party.

However, political analysts see a bright chance for Dutt if he contests.

“Sanjay has a good chance in Lucknow. With the Samajwadi Party naming him as its candidate, Lucknow will witness a star contesting the election for the fourth time,” said Ramesh Dixit, who teaches political science at Lucknow University.

“On earlier occasions, no film star was successful in winning from this constituency. However, Sanjay has a very good chance of winning because he has some links with the city. After the partition of the country, his father Sunil Dutt came here with his family and lived in old Lucknow for a few years,” added Dixit.

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