GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014
A week is left. Varanasi is to vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 12. Before that, some big seats of Eastern UP including Amethi and Sultanpur are going to polls on May 7 and that leaves Varanasi battleground free for the last rush of verbal assaults.
But, as the time before the voting day in Varanasi is almost over, the clear picture has become even more visible.
Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign has lost its steam, like it has happened everywhere else with AAP candidates. The gloom is evident with first Arvind Kejriwal and now Yogendra Yadav accepting that ‘quitting the Delhi government decision’ misfired.
Mukhtar Ansari, the number 2 in 2009 elections realized his precarious condition that even if all the Muslim votes polarised in his favour, he was staring at a humiliating loss in the absence of any mainstream political party ticket backing him thus devoiding him of the Hindu votes. This development coupled with strong pro-Narendra Modi sentiments among the Hindu voters of Varanasi were clearing signals for him and found his exit route.
The Congress candidate Ajai Rai, a Bhumihar by caste and considered a strongman is no match to Modi’s electoral stature. He is facing revolt in his family and in the larger Bhumihar community of the constituency counting for over 1,50,000 votes on opposing Narendra Modi and taking support of Mukhtar Ansari who is alleged to be involved in the murder of Awadhesh Singh, elder brother of Ajai Rai and a local don of influence. Mukhtar is also facing allegations of masterminding the murder of another Bhumihar BJP MLA of Varanasi, Krishnanand Rai, in 2005.
Likewise, the SP and the BSP candidates are no challenges to Modi and can be done away with even without naming them in the electoral discourses on Varanasi.
And as the campaign in Varanasi has progressed, the Modi factor in the city has become even more biting on the electoral health of his political rivals in the city.
The overall national projections of Narendra Modi, the BJP and the NDA showing a clear positive swing and a possibility of clear majority for an NDA-led Union Government have added to the polarising personality of Narendra Modi in Varanasi and it was evident from the huge crowd that welcomed him on his nomination day last month. That strength of the crowd was certainly not a managed one and anyone who studies and obverses the election management practices can vouch for it.
Narendra Modi’s victory in Varanasi was there from the day 1, when his candidature was announced.
And like every other article on Modi’s electoral prospects in Varanasi, this one, too, needs to end with the only question that matters for Modi’s political stature and his Varanasi candidature – the margin of his victory – and Modi looks to have consolidated his position to widen the gap.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/