Will Varanasi see a big fight?

Piece by NDTV. Seems apt.


What is the significance of Narendra Modi contesting the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi? How strong will Arvind Kejriwal's challenge be to the BJP's prime ministerial candidate - if the Aam Aadmi Party leader does actually stand against Modi? In the first place, is Varanasi a safe or a marginal seat for the BJP?

In 2009, Varanasi was certainly not seen as a sure-thing for the BJP. Murli Manohar Joshi won by just about 17,000 votes, scraping through following heavy voting in Hindu middle-class areas in the second half of polling day. This was later described as a "Hindu consolidation" and was indeed a small-scale rendition of that phenomenon. It was triggered by the fact that there had been a sizeable turnout in Muslim areas in the morning. In turn, this led to concern that Mukhtar Ansari, the BSP candidate, would win.

Ansari is an infamous man, with a long criminal record. Backed by Mayawati, who had transferred the BSP's Dalit vote to him, he had emerged as a formidable candidate in 2009. If Mayawati had chosen a more wholesome and reputable Muslim nominee, then it is possible Joshi would have been defeated. As such, the "Hindu consolidation" was entirely contextual and driven by anxiety over Ansari being elected.

In 2014, Varanasi is safer for the BJP than it was in 2009. It should be safe for Modi and it would probably have been safe for Joshi or any other BJP candidate as well. The reason for this is, unlike 2009, there is an overall, pan-Uttar Pradesh increment in support for the BJP. This is occurring due to many reasons. Unlike 2009, the upper caste and urban shift towards the BJP is apparent. A consolidation of some OBC sub-communities and of youth voters across castes and identity groups is also noticeable. Above all, there is the Modi factor, which was simply absent in 2009.

So has Modi chosen a safe seat in Varanasi? Yes, he has; but he has also chosen a seat that his very presence in UP, as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, has rendered safe. Remove Modi from the equation and how safe does Varanasi seem? In the absence of a Modi prime ministerial candidature, could even Joshi guarantee a second victory in Varanasi?

The choice of Varanasi was not motivated simply by its symbolic value as the world's oldest living city and a constant of Hinduism. To be fair, from Allahabad (geographically not too distant from Varanasi) to Meerut, there are other constituencies in Uttar Pradesh that could have attracted Modi for heritage/historical reasons as well as for immediate political return.

In opting for Varanasi, Modi hopes his candidature will influence about 25-30 seats in the catchment area, extending from eastern Uttar Pradesh to Bihar. In eastern UP - or Poorvanchal as it is called - the BJP's biggest potential obstacle is a replica of the coalition Joshi faced in 2009: a Muslim-Dalit consolidation behind the BSP. Such a social alliance would be numerically impressive. It could become the BJP's number one headache in UP. Modi's arrival as a local candidate is calculated to craft a counter-narrative, not just in Varanasi but more so in neighbouring districts.

Where does all this place Kejriwal? He has a tough task ahead. If he taps into the Muslim vote and hurts the BSP, he will only end up benefiting Modi. If he canvasses hard among Varanasi's urban middle classes, what will his pitch be? These are voters who are hostile to the Samajwadi Party government in Lucknow and tired of the Congress in New Delhi. An AAP campaign that targets Modi's "Gujarat model" would probably be lost on them.

However, what Kejriwal can be ensured of is blockbuster media coverage. He will probably give the best interviews; Modi will probably win the election. more  

View all 15 comments Below 15 comments
If BJP wants to prosper & live in peace , party will have to dump this ADVANI thing in KARACHI sea . Who can imagine that a man at 87 who should be readying to go to ALLAH , should aspire to be PM . In this age he should spend most of his time either sleeping or chanting NaMo NaMo. He seldom understand the multifarious problems of this multi lingual , multi cultural , multi religious , multi ethnic country whose economy today stands totally shattered b SONIA MANMOHAN duo . You should pray GOD to give peace to ADVANI's restless soul . more  
Yes, one strong man consigned to history, one who had built BJP on his shoulders. more  
Thanks BJP that one strong man cleared more  
Garg Ji, kursi ka moh aisa hi hota hai. Itihaas utha ke dekhiye pichle 60 saal ka.
Aaj ki rajneeti mein sant mahatma ka kya kaam hai? more  
Irrespective of party affiliations , all countrymen & women must vote for MODI if they really consider themselves DESH BHAKTAS . In the prevailing circumstances , there is alternative to MODI . All others are pygmy against him . Country is passing through a very difficult period . more  
Post a Comment

Related Posts

    • ARE EVERYONE TIRED OF LOCKDOWN ?

      Now, it appears that both the governments and the public are tired of lockdown. It appears that people have reconciled themselves to live with COVID 19, just as they have been living wi...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • DISRESPECT TO CORONA INFECTED DECEASED PERSONS

      It is highly depressing to read news about the local people’s objection to bury / cremate the corona infected deceased persons in their locality. This is happening all over India and par...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • COVID 19 - LIFTING LOCKDOWN IN INDIA– A CALCULATED RISK THAT HAS TO BE TAKEN

      A team of management professional, technologists , trader with long experience in their respective field have put their heads together and arrived at suggestions for lifting the lockdown in the f...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • MR. MODI SHOULD BAN POLYGAMY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S DIGNITY AND CURB POPULATION GROWTH

      As we celebrate International women’s Day, it is surprising that no one seem to be talking about the practice of polygamy where one man marries several women. This is one of the most uncivil...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • DELHI POLICE – SINNED OR SINNED AGAINST ?

      Almost all section of Indian media and most of the critics have blamed the Delhi police for the riots for two days ,when many innocent lives were lost and many were injured and large scale propert...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • Someone get this chimpanzee booked

      He is openly challenging Delhi Police and Govt of India. "Trump के जाने तक तो हम शांति से जा रहे। लेकिन उसके बाद हम आपकी भी नही सुनेगे. सड़कें खाली करवाइए तब तक।" "Till Trump...

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
    • Hiow to deal with motivated agitators and terrorists ?

      For the last several days, some members of the Islamic group have been agitating against CAA. Now they are blocking roads in Delhi, Chennai and other places, though the government has assured that ...

      By N.S. Venkataraman
      /
    • Lessons for bjp

      3 lessons for BJP after Delhi: 1) Ideological issues must be supplemented by a solid governance agenda 2) There has to be a vibrant local unit with mohalla presence, & not mer...

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
    • Divisive campaigns have no place in aspirationals

      It was बिजली, पानी, शिक्षा, सुरक्षा chunav till a few weeks ago & then Shaheenbagh became the centrepiece of BJP’s campaign.For weeks women of shaheenbagh were demonised.If exit poll num...

      By Sonal Das
      /
    • Rahul Gandhi is an idiot

      Today Rahul Gandhi said; Ye jo Narendra Modi bhashan de raha hai, 6 mahine baad ye ghar se bahar nahi nikal payega. Hindustan ke yuva isko aisa danda marenge, isko samjha denge ki Hindustan k...

      By Shikha Jain
      /
    • Shameful news 18 India

      You ask a CM in power to prove that he cares about Hanuman and ask him to sing hanuman chalisa live. Well handled Kejriwal ji. Fan of u again in last 2 years. Worth watching everyone

      By Rajesh Suri
      /
Share
Enter your email & mobile number and we will send you the instructions

Note - The email can sometime gets delivered to the spam folder, so the instruction will be send to your mobile as well

Please select a Circle that you want people to invite to.
Invite to
(Maximum 500 email ids allowed.)