BJP set to field Modi from Varanasi

BJP set to field Modi from Varanasi

After overcoming initial hiccups, the BJP is all set to field its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi.

Party chief Rajnath Singh is expected to contest from Lucknow.

The BJP is expected to make announcements in this regard at a scheduled meeting of its Central Election Committee on Thursday. The party witnessed a minor revolt last week after senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi raised the issue of Modi contesting from Varanasi, a seat held by him. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj is also learnt to have expressed apprehension over the manner in which the party was finalising alliances and inducting “tainted” politicians.

However, the RSS is understood to have stepped in and read out the riot act to dissident leaders, forcing them to fall in line. The Sangh Parivar had favoured permitting young leaders to “render service to the nation”, but also said it was beneficial to have “guidance from elders”.

As differences within the party were being resolved, problems cropped up from alliance partners, with the Shiv Sena questioning BJP leaders for reaching out to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The MNS, after a meeting with former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, had announced Lok Sabha candidates against the Shiv Sena leaders, but spared the BJP.

The BJP had to dispatch senior leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy to reassure Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray of the party’s commitment to the 25-year-old alliance. The BJP is also facing problems in Tamil Nadu where the Pattali Makkal Katchi, led by S Ramadoss, made some “unreasonable” demands in seat sharing. It may walk out of alliance talks. The BJP is in talks with the DMDK, MDMK and the PMK for a rainbow alliance in the crucial state, which has so far witnessed bipolar fights among alliances led by the AIADMK and the DMK.

In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP was expected to announce an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party, which is learnt to have been upset over the induction of former Congress leader D Purandeshwari into the BJP.

“We have not yet taken any decision with regard to the alliance in Andhra Pradesh,” Rajnath Singh said in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, Ramkirpal Yadav, who quit the RJD recently, is set to join the BJP on Wednesday. Yadav is likely to be fielded by the BJP from Patliputra in Bihar, where RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti is in the fray.

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