One of the most discussed political issues in the recent times has been Narendra Modi’s decision to take part in the ongoing assembly polls from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The primary question being asked in this regard is what will Modi gain from this decision? In fact, such a decision had been anticipated by many in the last couple of months. Yet, when the announcement regarding this was made by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is banking big time on the Chief Minister of Gujarat to lead them to a win at the countrywide elections, there was some surprise among everyone.
From a political point of view Modi needs to get to a position where both he and his party are not that dependent on other parties to form the government. For this to happen, BJP needs to do well in states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. If the party is unable to procure half of the assembly seats from these two states there could be a major problem when the election results are brought out to the public domain in May.
From the point of view of geographical location, Varanasi is located in the vicinity of the halfway point of the two states. In fact the Poorvanchal region as well as eastern part of UP comprise almost 50% of the seats of UP. It is also expected that with Modi in UP, BJP shall be able to have a positive effect on how it performs in Bihar.
One of the major reasons behind Modi contesting from Varanasi is the fact that Uttar Pradesh has 80 seats in the Lok Sabha and if BJP can do well here then it will take a big step towards winning the elections. Perhaps Narendra Modi is the best candidate, who they feel, will help them achieve this aim.
Yet another important reason behind Modi’s candidature from BJP is the presence of 70 thousand Gujaratis in the city. These people have been staying in Varanasi for almost 300 years and this has now become a home for them. Yet their roots are firmly entrenched in Gujarat. In fact, as per the information provided by one resident of the city, Damodardas Modi, Narendra Modi’s father, used to have a tea shop over here.
In fact, the community has expressed a lot of pride in the way Modi and BJP have opted for Varanasi as the stepping stone for the earlier’s journey towards becoming the Prime Minister of India. In fact, people are expecting that Modi would fulfill the promises he has made for the city because of the sizeable Gujarati community living over there.
The Gujarati community is fairly wealthy and also owns the saree trading and making industries of the city – in fact Varanasi is famous for this. They have also been doing their very best to make sure that Modi wins. They are staging public meetings and also trying to communicate with the weavers, majority of who are Muslims. The main aim behind all this is to assuage their grievances against the prime minister-elect of BJP. They are trying to make sure that they are not swayed by the comments being made against Modi.
One of the other reasons that have been put forward for BJP’s decision to field Modi from Varanasi is that the party wants to prove to its detractors that it is confident about Modi doing well in a constituency outside Gujarat. The fact that Uttar Pradesh is a crucial area only adds to the entire argument. Varanasi is being regarded as an intelligent choice since this is an area where the party has historically done well. Murli Manohar Joshi, the present MP who is now contesting from Lucknow, won the last time from here by a margin of almost 20 thousand votes. In the last few years Congress has only been successful in 2004 when UPA came to power in the center.
As of now it remains to be seen how successful Modi will be in Varanasi considering the fact that Arvind Kejriwal is standing against him and whether success in this important constituency is enough to help him become the PM at the end.