Narendra Modi grateful to BJP, says it`s an honour to contest LS polls from Varanasi

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 09:32

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday welcomed the party’s decision to name him as the candidate from Varanasi for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, saying it is an honour for him.

“Grateful to party for giving me opportunity to contest election from the holy city of Varanasi! An honour to contest from Varanasi,” Modi tweeted within minutes of the announcement by the BJP.

“With blessings of Ganga Mata & Kashi Vishwanath, let us work towards success of Mission272+ & create a strong, vibrant & prosperous India,” he added.

BJP today announced that Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, while party president Rajnath Singh has been moved to Lucknow from Ghaziabad.

According to the BJP`s fourth list of candidates released late night today, Arun Jaitley, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, will contest the elections from Amritsar, Shatrughan Sinha from Patnasaheb, and Harsh Vardhan from Delhi`s Chandni Chowk.

Modi will replace sitting MP Murli Manohar Joshi, who has now being moved to Kanpur.

Celebrations broke out among BJP members in Varanasi after the party late Saturday announced the candidature of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from the temple town.

Several hundreds of party supporters shouted pro-Modi slogans, blew conches, smeared each other with "gulaal" (colour) and burst crackers after the late night announcement.

BJP workers said they would be performing a special puja at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in the city on Monday to thank the diety for paving the way for Modi.

In Lucknow, BJP workers gathered at the Vidhan Sabha Marg party office today and danced to the beats of drums and burst crackers.

Modi`s nomination from Varanasi is a tactical move by the party to impact majority seats in the state, especially those in the Purvanchal region and in neighbouring Bihar as well.

Sources said that in 1998, when BJP came to power after managing its highest-ever Lok Sabha tally in Uttar Pradesh, the majority of the seats in the state had come from Purvanchal, which contains the Varanasi segment.

Speculation about Modi contesting from Varanasi had been rife over the past few weeks, which had seen an unhappy Joshi even raising the issue recently at a meeting of the party`s Central Election Committee, a PTI report said.

However, the BJP leadership was keen to see Modi contest from Varanasi on the hope that it would boost the party`s electoral prospects in all of Uttar Pradesh, where 80 Lok Sabha seats are at stake.

Once a bastion of BJP, the party`s tally in the state has been dwindling and hit a low of 10 in the 2009 polls. It is, however, hoping for a big swing in its fortunes this time around.



First Published: Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 01:20

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