Narendra Modi to fight from Varanasi; Kanpur for Joshi

Narendra Modi to fight from Varanasi; Kanpur for Joshi

Jaitley fielded in Amritsar

Narendra Modi to fight from Varanasi; Kanpur for Joshi

Ending months of speculation, the BJP on Saturday said its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest from Varanasi and president Rajnath Singh from Lucknow for the Lok Sabha (LS) polls.

Senior leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalraj Mishra have givenup their reservations in lieu of safe constituencies allotted to them in Uttar Pradesh (UP). 

The surprise element in the BJP’s central election committee’s Saturday decision was Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley agreeing to contest polls from Amritsar, a seat former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has reluctantly left for the former.

For the first time, Uttar Pradesh that has sent many prominent leaders to South Block will see an outsider in Modi. Senior BJP leaders said Modi will also contest from Gujarat, but the constituency is yet to be announced. 

“Grateful to the party for giving me an opportunity to contest from Varanasi. Let’s work towards Mission 272 plus,” Modi tweeted after the announcement.

Ghaziabad sitting MP Rajnath Singh will move to Lucknow as Kalraj Mishra accepted the offer to contest from Deoria, a district in eastern UP. Similarly, Joshi will now fight the Lok Sabha elections from Kanpur. Of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in UP, the panel cleared about 55 seats. Other important candidates included Maneka Gandhi from Pilibhit and son Varun Gandhi from Sultanpur. Kalyan Singh has quit electoral politics to allow his son Rajbir to contest from Etah, and Uma Bharti is contesting from Jhansi.

After the day-long meeting that went on till late into the night, the committee cleared names of 98 candidates who are going to contest from 12 states, ann­ounced BJP’s central election committee member Ananth Kumar.  

The states and Union Territories that came up for discussion while finalising the candidates for the LS and Assembly polls included UP (55), Delhi (7), Punjab (2), Chhattisgarh (11), Chandigarh (1), Uttarakhand (5), Haryana (7), Odisha (4 LS and 33 Assembly), Assam (1), Andaman and Nicobar, Bihar (2), Sikkim (1) and Arunachal Pradesh (36 Assembly).