New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party announced on Saturday.
Modi will replace sitting MP and senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had been resisting the move. Joshi has been shifted to Kanpur seat.
Senior party leader Arun Jaitley has been fielded from Amritsar constituency in Punjab, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar said at a press conference while releasing the list of 98 candidates finalized for 12 states.
Speculation about Modi contesting from Varanasi had been rife over the last several days because of which Joshi had been unhappy and even raised the issue at a meeting of the Central Election Committee recently.
However, the BJP leadership was keen to see Modi contest from the temple town of Varanasi as it hopes that this will boost the party’s electoral prospects in entire Uttar Pradesh where 80 Lok Sabha seats are at stake.
Once a forte of BJP, the party’s tally in the state has been dwindling and hit a low of 10 in 2009 polls. It hopes a big swing in its fortune this time round.
The party avoided potential trouble in Bihar by deciding to field actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha from his Patna Saheb seat. Earlier, the party was in two minds on this.
Party general secretary Varun Gandhi has been fielded from Sultanpur while his mother Maneka Gandhi will contest from Pilibhit, which he had won last time, BJP said.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti, who shifted her base to Uttar Pradesh has been given ticket from Jhansi.