Janata Dal (U), which walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to protest the elevation of Narendra Modi as its 2014 poll campaign panel chairman, has decided not to field any candidate in Varanasi.
Sources said the JD (U) is likely to support Samajwadi Party (SP)’s candidate in a bid to spoil Modi’s chances to win.
JD (U) has announced candidates from 10 seats in UP. Kailash Chaurasiya is the SP candidate in Varanasi.
JD(U) claims to have the support of backward caste voters in various districts of eastern UP bordering Bihar.
Party’s secretary general K C Tyagi said: “JD (U) does not want to divide the secular votes in Varanasi by fielding a candidate there. They will support a secular candidate against Modi in Varanasi. Announcement of support for that candidate will be made soon.”
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He also said the party feels that “SP represents secular politics in UP to some extent”.
Another party leader said senior JD(U) leaders like Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav may visit Varanasi to campaign in support of the candidate that the party will support.
Both the top leaders, however, will not campaign for party candidates contesting on JD(U) ticket in UP.
While JD(U) has announced candidates from Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Fatehpur Sikri, Kanpur, Akbarpur, Banda, Deoria, Salempur, Machlishahr and Chandauli, it does not want any direct confrontation with the SP on these seats. “The party is contesting symbolically on these seats to maintain its existence in the state. Both JD(U) and SP are pioneers of the Third Front,” said a senior party leader.
JD(U) had earlier contested elections in UP in alliance with the BJP.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had given JD(U) two seats — Salempur and Budaun — and both seats were lost by its candidates.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had given JD (U) three seats – Meerut, Badaun and Salempur. Then too the party had lost all three seats.
The BJP had broken alliance with JD(U) in UP in 2012 Assembly elections also and both the parties had contested elections against each other. JD (U) had contested on 219 seats and deposit of all its candidates were forfeited.