When Narendra Modi’s candidature from Varanasi was announced, ‘thinking’ about Arvind Kejriwal jumping in the poll fray from the Temple City was the only waiting to happen.

And given the developments around the Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal after the audacious and shameless act of (im)morality in resigning from the Delhi government, his increasingly dictatorial style of running his party as flood of such reports and regular exodus of his party members suggest, his incessant ‘I am always right’ rant, his increasingly visible temperamental, volatile and stubborn personality and his deepening style of ‘hit and run’ politics, charging others with wild allegations (without any proof, as has become his trademark), attacking anyone who criticises him, using undemocratic words to threaten his critics (like his ‘jailing the media’ outburst), if any interest in his candidature from Varanasi was left, then it was basically about how dramatized it’s unveiling was going to be this time (though it may or may not happen when it comes to happening it finally).

And lo! The way it happened again confirmed what Arvind Kejriwal had become in just three months of being in the mainstream politics of India (or what he really was and the three months in the mainstream politics has uncovered the layers that had concealed his true identity that made many of us (including me) to think him as a different politician who could bring vital, much needed changes in the System).

In their verbal jugglery and vocal bravery, Arvind Kejriwal had announced to contest against Naredra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls. When Narendra Modi’s name was confirmed by ‘sources’, his lieutenant Manish Sisodia declared Arvind Kejriwal would take on Modi from Varanasi if indeed Modi’s candidature was confirmed from the city.

The thread was continued by Arvind Kejriwal the evening the BJP declared Modi’s name from Varanasi when the balloon of his vocal bravery inflated his cord to push him to say he would contest from Varanasi (against Narendra Modi).

But then something happened. Though, we can analyse (and can reach to a logical point of analysing), only Mr. Kejriwal can tell us what transpired in those moments that pushed him to add a rider to his proclamation of contesting against Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

He said he would announce it in AAP’s Varanasi rally to be addressed by him on March 23 (that has been rescheduled for March 25 due to the local polls in the city) after consulting the public over it.

Now we remember how Mr. Kejriwal ditched the public of Delhi after taking its approval through his ‘sms referendum’ on forming the government in Delhi. He did not do one before resigning (ideally, he must have done that).

Now for contesting from Varanasi, we do not know how he is going to take the public opinion. It is March 19 and there is no word on any ‘sms referendum’ sort of thing. Taking a voice vote of the public in his rally may be the one possible way. Let’s see how does he try to play with the ball this time?

And in all this, till his March 25 rally in Varanasi, while he travels in this thoughts and exercises his ‘strategising’ in his party’s parleys, he will always be in two minds on ‘accepting the public opinion’ or ‘shielding behind it’ to use it as the excuse for not contesting from Varanasi’.

But, he cannot backtrack now, even if it is ‘already’ a lost battle for him.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


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 –