Honoured to contest from holy city of Varanasi: Modi

Honoured to contest from holy city of Varanasi: Modi

Honoured to contest from holy city of Varanasi: Modi

Soon after the party declared his candidature from Varanasi, BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi today referred to the historical and religious significance of the city and said that he felt "honoured" to be contesting from there.

"Grateful to the Party for giving me opportunity to contest the election from the holy city of Varanasi! An honour to contest from Varanasi," Modi tweeted soon after the announcement.

Seeking the blessings of the holy Ganges and Kashi Vishwanath, one of the holiest Hindu shrines which is located in Varanasi, Modi called upon people to work together for achieving the 272+ seat target set by BJP for the upcoming polls.

"With blessings of Ganga Mata & Kashi Vishwanath, let us work towards success of Mission 272+ & create a strong, vibrant & prosperous India," he said in another tweet.

Modi will replace sitting MP and senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had been resisting the move to shift him to another constituency. Joshi will now contest from Kanpur.

Modi's nomination from Varanasi is a tactical move by the party to impact majority seats in the state, especially those in the Purvanchal region and in neighbouring Bihar as well.

Sources said that in 1998, when BJP came to power after managing its highest-ever Lok Sabha tally in Uttar Pradesh, the majority of the seats in the state had come from Purvanchal, which contains the Varanasi segment.

Speculation about Modi contesting from Varanasi had been rife over the past few weeks, which had seen an unhappy Joshi even raising the issue recently at a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee.

However, the BJP leadership was keen to see Modi contest from Varanasi on the hope that it would boost the party's electoral prospects in all of Uttar Pradesh, where 80 Lok Sabha seats are at stake.

Once a bastion of BJP, the party's tally in the state has been dwindling and hit a low of 10 in the 2009 polls. It is, however, hoping for a big swing in its fortunes this time around.