Eyes on UP prize, Narendra Modi set for Varanasi

Due to politics in Delhi, conspiracies were mounted against me causing some legal concerns, Narendra Modi said.

New Delhi | Updated: March 15, 2014 9:38 am

The BJP’s central election committee is all set to announce on Saturday that the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, ending the suspense over his choice of seat after veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi indicated his reluctance to vacate the constituency for the Gujarat chief minister.

The party is also expected to declare that its president Rajnath Singh will be the candidate from the prestigious Lucknow constituency, once represented by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Party sources said Joshi may be fielded from Kanpur and former UP unit chief Kalraj Mishra, who was eyeing Kanpur, could be offered Shravasti or Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources said this formula was arrived after a marathon meeting Friday about the party’s candidates from Uttar Pradesh. The meeting was attended by general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Amit Shah, general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, top state leaders and Rajnath Singh.

Shah and Ramlal had also held talks Wednesday with RSS leaders Suresh Soni and Krishna Gopal over UP candidates.

The BJP’s UP unit, under the guidance of Modi aide Amit Shah, has been keen to field Modi from the temple town to maximise the party’s electoral prospects in the politically crucial state.

Although Varanasi cannot be considered a “safe seat” for the BJP given its performance in the last two polls, it has symbolic significance.

“It would demonstrate a commitment towards symbols of Hindutva to the party’s core voters even as Modi seeks a wider mandate on the basis of his development agenda,” a senior central party functionary said.

While Modi has avoided the Ram Temple and other Hindutva issues, he mentioned “Ram Rajya” during a public speech in Varanasi.

Since the BJP’s rise on the back of its Ram Temple movement, the party won the Varanasi seat consistently since 1991 until the streak was broken by the Congress in 2004. But Joshi wrested it back in 2009.

Besides symbolism, party leaders also have clear electoral calculations for wanting to field Modi from Varanasi.

While the party hopes to benefit from the polarisation in western Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar last year, it needs another booster in the eastern parts, the leaders feel.

“Modi’s candidature from eastern Uttar Pradesh will provoke Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP and Mayawati’s BSP to rally their Muslim support base. That, in turn, may lead to polarisation of other communities towards the BJP,” said another leader from UP.

The fact that Varanasi has twice been hit by terror blasts in 2006 and 2010, as well as its proximity to Azamgarh, alleged to be home to some of those accused in terror cases, may also come into play.

Interestingly, Joshi’s posters for campaigning in Varanasi mention the blasts in the temple town.

Central party leaders also claim that Modi’s candidature from eastern Uttar Pradesh will have a ripple effect in neighbouring Bihar, at least in the western Bihar constituencies, and that Modi’s OBC background is likely to overshadow backward caste regional satraps. They feel Modi’s candidature from Varanasi may provide an “upswing in about 24 seats in eastern UP”.

With eastern UP one of the most backward regions of Uttar Pradesh, the electorate of the region will be more than enthusiastic to vote for a potential Prime Minister, party leaders reason.

However, state leaders indicated that Modi’s candidature from Varanasi will prove to be an advantage only if he contests from that one seat and not opt for a second elsewhere, most likely Gujarat.

“We are given to understand that he will contest only from Varanasi. It could be a dampner if he contests from another seat, even in Gujarat, as the opposition will confuse voters by claiming that Modi could give up the seat after getting elected,” said one leader involved in the state’s election management.

Some leaders also felt that while Modi would win Varanasi, he would not have an as easy time as in Gujarat as the opposition would come together and force him to work for his own victory.

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First Published on: March 15, 2014 3:30 am
  1. G
    Geetanjali Iyyar
    Mar 22, 2014 at 8:12 pm
    BJP has no future. It is a useless party. They may try anything now but they will not win this general elections
    Reply
    1. A
      Ajay Katoch
      Mar 15, 2014 at 6:27 am
      BJP has done nothing for the youth, even in UP it failed. BJP's government is exploiting youths by paying them just Rs 5,300 per month that too on a contractual basis for the past five years.
      Reply
      1. A
        Ajay Katoch
        Mar 15, 2014 at 6:28 am
        Modi deliberately went on to remove Joshi's name from Varanasi because he wants to establish his so called "wave" in UP where congress is dominating. Modi looks infirm and lethargic. His chances are very less.
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        1. A
          Amit
          Mar 15, 2014 at 12:40 am
          Har har modi
          Reply
          1. A
            Avtar Chauhan
            Mar 15, 2014 at 3:12 am
            An appropriate & timely decision by the BJP !Best of luck to Mr N Modi, the would be PM of India ie Bharat! Jai Hind!!!
            Reply
            1. A
              aarush
              Mar 15, 2014 at 5:21 am
              modi is a true dictator, so now which was most expected out of him, he has chosen his safe seat, and bjp has all the tainted leaders with criminal charges, no one should support them.
              Reply
              1. R
                rajan
                Mar 15, 2014 at 2:18 am
                varanasi needs a good clean up. who better than modi to carry out this well overdue task?
                Reply
                1. A
                  AP
                  Mar 15, 2014 at 1:23 am
                  If Modi runs from Gujarat and Varanasi and gets elected at both places then he could give up Gujarat seat. Why does he have to give up Varanasi seat by default.
                  Reply
                  1. J
                    Jagdish Jain
                    Mar 15, 2014 at 2:43 am
                    If 'Har Har' Narendra Modi is going to be a LS candidate from Varanasi, the soul of the novelist Premchand must be mightily grieved. Premchand through his novels fought against the ugliness of the Indian society in his novels like 'Nirmala' very strongly. I grieve at the thought that Modi will be a candidate from Varanasi, where my father was a prinl of a college - a city I highly respected. Let's pray - a prayer is the cry of the soul in the darkness of the world it lives - that the Indian electorate would make the correct decision in Varanasi.
                    Reply
                    1. N
                      narayan
                      Mar 15, 2014 at 9:44 am
                      This is the very positive step by BJP.
                      Reply
                      1. a
                        anon_y_mous_04
                        Mar 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm
                        Modi will win, he will get more than300
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                          patelk492@rediffmail
                          Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
                          s:www.youtube/watch?...
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                            patelk492@rediffmail
                            Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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                              patelk492@rediffmail
                              Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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                                patelk492@rediffmail
                                Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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                                  patelk492@rediffmail
                                  Mar 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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                                    patelk492@rediffmail
                                    Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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                                      patelk492@rediffmail
                                      Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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                                        patelk492@rediffmail
                                        Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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                                          patelk492@rediffmail
                                          Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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                                          1. V
                                            VED
                                            Mar 15, 2014 at 5:16 am
                                            now the battle starts - Khangress instigated AAP (B Team ) to threaten everyone - they will be wiped - lets Hindus get Polariaed and throw away the ISI agent - Congress, Indian Mujahuddin, AAP, SP,BSP ALL OTHERS PSEUDO SECULARS
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