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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Dateline Varanasi: 5 reasons for Kejriwal to take on Modi

Pallav Nayak, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 17, 2014
First Published: 08:54 IST(17/3/2014) | Last Updated: 13:38 IST(17/3/2014)

A possible fight between Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi appears to be a no-contest.

Modi is vastly experienced, surveys say he leads popular opinion in these elections and his party holds the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat right now. The AAP leader seems outmatched in Varanasi but winning isn't the only goal in politics, more so for Kejriwal. Here are Top 5 reasons why it makes political sense for Kejriwal to take on Modi:

David vs Goliath, sort of: Kejriwal has nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking on Modi. He may not win but he will get media and national attention. If he plays the role of 'aam aadmi' challenging the big leader right, Varanasi could become the most watched among India's 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in this election.

Read: Have Varanasi LS ticket, need people's blessings, says Kejriwal

The only one:
Pre-election surveys give the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance a lead over other parties. Modi is the favourite for the PM's post, according to these surveys. There is a Modi wave in the country, his supporters say. Kejriwal, by taking on Modi, will appear to be the only person challenging him when the Congress appears to have given up. Kejriwal toured Gujarat for four days, tried to gate crash Modi's residence and asked him 17 questions about Gujarat's development. The message he is sending is that a small party like his has taken the task of playing the role of main opposition to Modi.

Rejuvenating AAP:
Kejriwal's party has been in one controversy after another ever since he resigned on February 14 as Delhi chief minister. Party supporters 'attacked' the BJP headquarters in Delhi; they are squabbling over election tickets and Kejriwal himself has been in trouble for trying to 'influence' a TV interview and then threatening to jail journalists. A fight against Modi may give AAP a sharp, clear focus and help its members to unite.

Read: Arvind Kejriwal - India’s Hugo Chavez?

Overtaking Rahul?
Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal have got the most attention these elections. Modi, it's assumed, leads the trio in popularity but who is second in the race? Kejriwal could overtake the Congress leader when it comes to wooing TV cameras if he contests in Varanasi. He is already seeing success. In a four-day trip to Gujarat, he managed to put all such issues in the state under national spotlight that the Congress has failed to do in many years

Beyond 2014:
Kejriwal will come out of the contest as a fighter. He will go down in Varanasi probably, and in history as the man who took on Modi.

Read: AAP not a factor at the national level, says Rahul


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