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No discontent over vacating Varanasi seat for Narendra Modi: Murli Manohar Joshi

Monday, 12 May 2014 - 12:27pm IST | Agency: PTI

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi today denied any discontent over vacating the Varanasi seat for Narendra Modi and shifting to Kanpur.

Joshi said there was a "development wave in the country" which is being led by BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.

"There is a wave for the formation of a BJP-led government which will be formed on the basis of a thumping majority. The issue today is about a strong leadership and a strong government on which Modi matches up to expectations," he said after casting his vote here.

He refused to comment on whether he would be in the cabinet if a BJP government is formed, saying at the moment he was only looking to become an MP.

Joshi said there was "no question of any discontent on the issue of vacating the Varanasi seat and shifting to Kanpur".

The BJP leader said he expects the voting percentage in Varanasi to increase this time as the number of voters have increased.

Asked about the alleged violation of the model code of conduct in his constituency, Joshi said it was the job of the Election Commission to check all such instances and the poll body should depute strong officers and personnel for the polling exercise to check such practises.

He rued that "training" of polling officials was not upto the mark this time, saying that officials were only interested in getting the exercise done anyhow.

He said the official poll machinery should also be made aware and geared up for the polls on the lines of the awareness drive launched for voters.

Joshi said the decision to give the Varanasi seat to Modi was made by the party due to "pure political reasons".

"Well, the party decided it (giving Varanasi ticket to Modi) after taking into consideration all pros and cos and we thought that it would be seen as extremely beneficial for the party to give him a seat from UP. And the party decided in the context of election (that) Varanasi would be a good seat for him," he said.

The BJP veteran was asked if the BJP wanted to send some signal to the electorate by making this decision.

"There is no such signal...this is what the media has been saying. This a pure political decision to benefit the party and to get a larger number of seats because we want to get absolute majority, if possible. So, for that possibility we changed so many things and this is one of them," Joshi said adding, the party wanted to "cash on" the popular image of Modi.

"You see it so happens that we have one leader this time who has attracted the attention of people as a leader of determination and has some of the elements of administration and so we decided to cash on this opportunity," he said.

On the Congress candidate Ajay Rai displaying the party symbol, Joshi said it is a "small thing".

"For some people it (Rai wearing Congress symbol) may be a big thing. There is no big thing in that. Who doesn't know their (Congress) election symbol? Everybody takes hand with them, will you cut their hands? I feel that a party (BJP) which is winning with such a big margin should not look into these small things. It will not have an effect on a single vote," he said.

Asked what would be his suggestion in case Modi wins both Varanasi and Vadodara seats, Joshi said he would be "happy" if the Gujarat Chief Minister "retains the UP seat." He also said that there was no opposition to BJP and Modi in Varanasi.

"Narendra Modi is the hero of this election and there is no question of tough competition being faced by him from any of his rivals here," he said.

To a question, he said there were nothing unusual in senior BJP leaders meeting RSS functionaries.

Joshi said he also regularly visits RSS office and various issues are discussed in those meetings.

He refused to comment on whether he would be in the Union Cabinet if BJP comes to power at the Centre, saying he was only thinking about becoming an MP as of now.

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