Kejriwal versus Modi

On 25/3/2014 Arvind Kejriwal announced his candidature against Narendra Modi for Lok Sabha from Banaras/Kashi/Varanasi. Banaras is the popular name. Kashi is the religious name. Varanasi is the official name. Kejriwal had announced he would take on Modi outside Gujarat. Then there was ambiguity. AAP leaders said they will put up a strong candidate who can even be a housewife against Modi. There was speculation that Kejriwal did not want to contest against Modi but some AAP leaders wanted it. On 16/3/2014 in Bangalore Kejriwal said he would go to Varanasi on 23 March and ask the people whether they want him to contest against Modi. The date was symbolic as it was the anniversary of hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. However he could not make it on that day as there was no permission to hold a meeting supposedly due to Legislative Council election. He went there on 25/3/2014 and asked the people gathered there. Most of them said “Yes.” Many were AAP members or supporters. Some were curious onlookers.
Some talk as if Modi has already won from Varanasi and will be PM. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Opinion polls were conducted before elections were declared or candidates filed nominations. Exit polls also go wrong. It is not over till it is over.
The picture in Varanasi will be clear after the date of withdrawal of nominations. Many parties have not declared their candidates. Digvijaya Singh wants to be Congress candidate from Varanasi. Modi is also a candidate from Baroda. Kejriwal can claim Modi is not sure of winning from Varanasi that is why he is contesting also from Baroda or if he wins from both constituencies he will dump Varanasi. Kejriwal thinks no party or coalition will get absolute majority and there will be elections within a year.
Kejriwal said he has no money to contest the election. Just like Madan Mohan Malaviya collected one rupee each from people to build Banaras Hindu University, he will collect money from people. One rupee was a big amount during the time of Madan Mohan Malaviya. BHU was founded in 1915.
Modi’s rise has made some people in BJP uneasy. Murli Manohar Joshi had to shift to Kanpur to make way for Modi. Rajnath Singh shifted to Lucknow because it was Atal Behari Vajpayee’s constituency when he was PM. Modi’s rivals within BJP will be happy to see him lose in Varanasi.
One candidate should contest from one constituency. Law should be amended for that. When a candidate wins from two constituencies he/she has to resign from one constituency and election has to be held there. That results in unnecessary expenditure and waste of time.
AAP members are confident Kejriwal will defeat Modi just like he defeated Sheila Dikshit. His detractors say AAP had base in Delhi, it has no base in Varanasi. Kejriwal is not worried about losing. He says it is not his fight, it is common man’s fight.

Updated: March 27, 2014 — 7:32 am

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