Focus shifts to Modi's Varanasi constituency

As the Assembly elections move to the central and eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, the focus shifts to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi constituency, with party president Amit Shah reaching the holy city on Tuesday to sort out concerns regarding seats.

Though the party has already put Union ministers like Manoj Sinha for round-the-clock micromanagement of the election in Varanasi, Shah is taking extra care and has lined up meetings to pacify ‘upset’ local leaders, given that Modi’s prestige is at stake.

Modi had moved to Varanasi to give a big boost to the party’s prospects in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but local BJP leaders are not confident about the outcome this time.

According to the preliminary schedule being worked out by poll managers, Modi is expected to address a rally in the city early next month before it goes to polls in the last of the seven phases on March 8.

Modi, who during a rally in Orai in Allahabad said that the BJP was leading after the first three phases, may also camp in his constituency for at least a day for a last-minute rejig as eastern UP is crucial to the party’s prospects.

The party is facing a tough battle from the Congress and BSP on its pocket boroughs of Varanasi Cantonment, Varanasi South and Varanasi North, owing to bad candidate selection like elsewhere in the state.

Of the three seats, which the party had won in 2012, Varanasi South and Varanasi Cantonment have been the BJP’s feifdom since 1990.

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