Former BJP man and five-time MLA Ajay Rai is Congress’ candidate from Varanasi against Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal. Rai, Bhumihar by caste, is considered a strong man in eastern Uttar Pradesh and had fought the last Lok Sabha election on a Samajwadi Party ticket. He had come third behind BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari.
For weeks Congress has been delaying the annoucement of its candidate from Varanasi seat. Several senior leaders including Digvijaya Singh had volunteered to fight against Modi.