HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Will Modi be named BJP's Varanasi candidate today?

HT correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 15, 2014
First Published: 09:51 IST(15/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:48 IST(24/3/2014)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s central election committee is all set to announce party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi's name on Saturday as its candidate from Varanasi for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, according to a report in the Indian Express. 

A decision in this regard will end the suspense over BJP's choice of candidate from Varanasi after veteran party leader Murli Manohar Joshi had earlier indicated his reluctance to vacate the constituency for the Gujarat chief minister.

Getting Modi to stand from Varanasi would create a buzz for the party in the country’s most populous and electorally crucial state, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP has left the choice of whether to stand from Varanasi to Modi himself, with his closest aide Amit Shah keen for him to do so but a section of the party suggesting he stick to the safety of his native Gujarat. Ahmedabad East, Navsari and Surat are seen as safe seats for Modi in Gujarat.  

Modi is expected to convey his decision to party chief Rajnath Singh before the Central Election Committee, which will then rubberstamp his choice.

Reports earlier said, Modi may contest the Lok Sabha elections from Gujarat as well as Uttar Pradesh.

This followed assessment by BJP strategists who felt that that their prime ministerial nominee's candidature from two states may boost local cadre, improve prospects of other candidates and help the BJP in its quest for 272-plus seats in the Lok Sabha.

The assessment came as Modi completed the first phase of his election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Both states account for 120 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and are crucial for any party wishing to rule at the Centre.

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