Many believe a victory for Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalists could add momentum to a conservative social backlash.
The crisp lawns, water fountain and new walking path of Lohia Park attract people of all ages. Middle-aged women wearing tracksuit trousers paired with traditional Indian tops walk the trails with strollers in tow. Frisbees and kites fly in the air. And almost every day, couples embrace under a tree or on the grass, oblivious to all around them.
Priyanka Shivharee, 22, and Rohit Chaudhary, 25, are here because the park, in the northern Indian city of Lucknow, is one of the few places where they can get some privacy.
“Actually the park is a silent place,” said Chaudhary, who studies at a local engineering college along with his girlfriend of three years. “We can talk to each other and exchange emotions. So peaceful. That’s why we come here.”