BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is fighting from this historic city, is up against 77 candidates including three other Narendras. Besides Modi, Tulsi Shubramaniam Joshi has also filed nomination papers as a BJP nominee covering for the Gujarat Chief Minister which makes total number of candidates 79 in the Varanasi seat.
It is a common practice among political parties to make two individuals submit papers to ensure that there is a covering candidate in case one of the nominations is rejected. While the last date of nomination was yesterday, names can be withdrawn till April 28.
While Narendra Nath Dubey Adig represents Jan Shakti Ekta Party, Narendra Bahadur Singh is contesting as Manav Kalyan Munch candidate. Another Independent contestant goes by his first name Narendra. A majority of the contestants are from little known political parties. Such entities include Agar Jan Party, Moulik Adhikar Party, Rastriya Insaaf Party, Gandhi Ekta Party, All India Pichhada Jan Samaj Party, Shoshit Samaj Dal, Sarva Samaj Kalyan Party, Nirmal India Party, Rashtriya Janwadi Party (Krantikari) and Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party.
About 39 independent candidates have filed their nomination papers. Out of them, some along with their family members have assets worth crores of rupees, according to their affidavits submitted to the Election Commission.
Among the Independent candidates is one individual named Navratri who has disclosed that he is an employee of Sahara India. Transgender Baseer Kinnar, 50, has also filed nomination from this temple town.
While the Election Commission is yet to scrutinise the nomination papers, the current number of 79 candidates would mean that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) cannot be used in the constituency. At 79 nominations, this seat has seen one of the highest number of candidates from a single location in this Lok Sabha polls.
According to the Election Commission, EVMs can cater to a maximum of 66 candidates. "In case the number of contesting candidates goes beyond 66 in any constituency, EVMs cannot be used in such a constituency.
"The conventional method of voting by means of ballot box and ballot paper will have to be adopted in such a constituency," according to norms of the Commission.