Will PM contest 2019 LS elections from Puri?

Will PM contest 2019 LS elections from Puri?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the holy city of Puri in Odisha?

Though it is early and there is no official word from the BJP on such a move, a section of the party leaders is in support of the proposal as it feels that this move would boost the saffron party's fledgling prospect in eastern India.

Puri houses Shri Jagannath temple, which is termed as one of the holiest temples in the Hindu scriptures.

In the wake of the drubbing it received in Hindi heartland, the BJP wants to turn Odisha and Bengal into its new catchment areas in the 2019 Parliamentary election.

Fielding the prime minister from Puri, according to a section of the party, could not only improve the BJP's tally in the eastern state, but also contribute to its performance in three other neighbouring states.

“Whenever you visit the Jagannath temple, you will find people from five states— Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. Having him (Modi) at Puri may help us in all the five states. But no decision has been taken,” a senior BJP leader said in New Delhi.

The incumbent MP from Puri Lok Sabha constituency is BJD's Pinaki Misra.

In the 2014 Parliamentary polls, Modi contested from two seats— Vadodara in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He won both, retained Varanasi and vacated Vadodara.

It's not yet clear whether he would do the same in 2019 as well.

Out of 19 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, the BJP has only one— Sundargarh represented by the tribal affairs minister Jual Oram.

In neighbouring West Bengal, out of the 42 seats in which election would he held, the BJP has only two. The saffron party hopes to increase its tally in both these states.

The only other prime minister, who contested from Odisha was Congress leader P V Narsimha Rao, who won from Berhampur constituency in 1996 by a huge margin.