Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday vacated Vadodara constituency, retaining Varanasi. Modi had won Vadodara by over 5.70 lakh votes, the highest margin in the 2014 polls and the second highest in any Lok Sabha election.
“Resigned from Vadodara LS seat. Due to people’s affection got elected by historic margin. Will always remain grateful to people of Vadodara,” Modi tweeted Thursday. He added retaining Varanasi will offer him a “wonderful opportunity to serve Ganga Maa and work for Varanasi’s development”.
As BJP workers started speculating who would be fielded from Vadodara, state party general secretary Vijay Rupani said, “There is still time… It will be decided by our parliamentary board and the party will give its approval to the name it suggests.”
Among the possible candidates, according to BJP sources, are Samarjitsinh Gaekwad and Balu Shukla. Some in the BJP were also wondering if Amit Shah would be fielded, but a senior leader in Vadodara said, “We have been told by the party top brass that Modiji has expressed a desire to keep Amitbhai free of responsibilities so that he can discharge his duties as a strategist, since his focus is also on the UP assembly polls next year. Right now, Samarjitsinh and Balu Shukla are in the running. There are a couple of other local leaders…” The leader said the party is also contemplating fielding a woman candidate, but “the decision will be Modiji’s”.
“It will not be easy to repeat for the new candidate what party workers did for Modi, but we are committed to doing our best for whoever is fielded,” city BJP president Bharat Dangar said. “At his rally in the city after winning the seat, Modi had thanked voters for sending him to Delhi, giving a hint he was planning to leave this seat.” And Modi’s election-in-charge Bhupendra Lakhawala said, “Whoever the candidate is, party workers will do their best to ensure a big win.”
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Modi, who needed to relinquish at least one seat within two weeks of the results, submitted his resignation from Vadodara in the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker, party sources said.