Varanasi has become the center-stage for the elections 2014 to play out in its fullest splendor. And why not? Varanasi’s outcome will play a major role in deciding the candidacy of the seats of Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh – two electorally important constituencies of around 100 Lok Sabha candidates.
So far, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has been announced to contest from Varanasi, along with his hometown Gujarat. The elections of 2009 too, had seen BJP’s Murali Manohar Joshi win the Varanasi candidature by a margin of 17,211 votes over BSP. In midst of all this comes the announcement from Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal, to host a public rally in Varanasi seeking people’s support against the BJP candidate. He has also gone on public record to criticize Modi for contesting from 2 constituencies. He allegedly claims that a prime ministerial candidate (read Modi) should at least have the confidence to win one constituency.
Considering that BJP’s Hindutva principle and secular card are the major vote winners in this area, Arvind might have pushed his luck too far with such an audacious opposition. Varanasi, considered to be a holy place among Hindus, is considered to be a stronghold for the BJP. In fact, fielding Modi from this constituency is a solid proof that the BJP hasn’t yet abandoned the hindutva card to attract voters despite the party adopting the pro-development stance all through this election season. Also the reason why other parties have fielded normal candidates or are yet to take a stance on this issue. By opposing BJP’s candidature with lesser known faces, other parties seem to cash in on objecting to the right wing ideologies followed by the party. With Arvind’s entry, the equation tilts even further to the BJP side – clearly depicted by the protests on his arrival in Varanasi.
Even with his “One fights to be PM, the other for the nation” stance, Mr.Kejriwal is yet to be taken seriously as a politician. Mainly because, the AAP leader deserted Delhi barely 2 months after coming into power on the grounds of not getting the Lokpal Bill graft passed during the parliamentary sessions. The disillusionment after leading him to an impressive victory in Delhi seems to leave a bad taste among the citizens of the country.
With all the demonstrations and protests following his arrival in Varanasi, the public seems to be in no mood to accept Arvind Kejriwal’s antics any longer. While we do love the idea of a corruption-free country, it would be better if the AAP leader works towards tackling immediate issues than building sand castles in air seems which seems to be the sentiment echoed by the people of Varanasi.
Mohan is 23 and can be followed at @Velli_chhokri