Narendra Modi comes to Varanasi/Kashi/Banaras. This idea was tossed for the first time around in May 2013. Since then it has been in news. And it was a decision to be made, sooner or later. And it is in now.
The Muzaffarnagar riots and BJP MLAs jailed for it were the next big push. Narendra Modi is undoubtedly the most polarising personality of Indian politics. In fact he dominates this space. Even if he is trying to carve an image away from it, this political aspect of his personality is going to help the BJP score handsomely in Western Uttar Pradesh with the polarisation of Hindu votes on religious lines.
Apart from his polarising persona appeal in Western UP, Modi’s nomination from Varanasi will help the BJP gain some solid ground to campaign in almost 30-35 seats of Eastern UP and the adjoining areas of Bihar as Varanasi, apart from being the spiritual and religious capital of Hinduism, is also the educational, cultural and industrial hub of Eastern UP and caters to a part of Bihar as well.
So, an objective to achieve significant, vital electoral gains in Western and Eastern UP, accounting for almost 60 parliamentary constituencies, with gains from the polarisation after the riots, was a logical enough calculation to push for Narendra Modi’s candidature from UP.
And it being from Varanasi, the temple town, the city of Lord Shiva, a city nurtured by the Mother Ganga, the spiritual seat of Hinduism, the religious citadel of Hindutva could give the BJP a perfect pitch to project the overarching personality of Narendra Modi as a nationalist, pro-Hindutva leader reaching to the Hindus of every formation, irrespective of the social and geographic boundaries.
Thus, for the BJP strategists, to field Narendra Modi from Varanasi should have been a decision taken long ago, and was just waiting to happen.
And the reports of the wave of anti-incumbency against the sitting MP Murli Manohar Joshi, in spite of his claims of spending over 80 per cent of his MPLAD funds, only helped in the decision making once Joshi’s personal issues were addressed.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/