Cong workers in Varanasi unhappy at delay in picking candidate | india | Hindustan Times
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Cong workers in Varanasi unhappy at delay in picking candidate

india Updated: Mar 29, 2014 20:06 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times

All eyes are on the Congress camp, which is yet to field a candidate to take on BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal from the Varansai Lok Sabha constituency.

Resentment is brewing in the local unit of the Congress, as some believe the delay in jumping into the ring for the big battle will hurt the party.

Amid the growing dissent, Varanasi district president Pragyanath Sharma said the much-awaited announcement could come on Saturday night.

Congress legislator Ajay Rai and former Varanasi parliamentarian Rajesh Mishra are the two local contenders for the party's ticket from Varanasi, which goes to polls on May 12.

There is a big talk in the local Congress unit that the final call will be taken after party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rallies in Ghaziabad and Saharanpur on Saturday.

The Varanasi constituency has assumed significance in the political map after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded its PM nominee from the Hindu holy city. Later, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Kejriwal sent the mercury soaring by announcing his decision to challenge Modi.

Read: Voters want Modi to debate Kejriwal: HT poll

"There is no rationale behind the delay in announcing the candidate from Varanasi. Whether he is a local or an outsider, the party must have declared the candidate long time back," said local Congress leader Dharmendra Singh.

"This delay will cost the party dearly. Even dedicated voters will drift away."

Meanwhile, Quami Ekta Dal candidate Mukhtar Ansari's entry into the fray has complicated things for the Congress. There is a big talk that the members of the Muslim community would vote for him, delivering the Congress a blow in the big-ticket fight.

The district Congress president, however, if hopeful of a good show. "We are confident of winning over voters once the candidate is announced. The Congress party has committed voters who are not going to drift away," Sharma said.

With the names of Rai and Mishra doing the rounds, Congress activist Prashant Sharma added, "The Congress high command must declare a local candidate from Varanasi without any further delay to stop voters from drifting away."

Earlier, senior party leader Digvijaya Singh, a native of Madhya Pradesh, had offered to contest from the seat.