Millennium Post

Cong gives up Varanasi?

Cong gives up Varanasi?
It seems the ruling Congress party has all but given up the mother of all electoral battles that will unravel in Varanasi. With senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh ‘wary’ of contesting against the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the party leadership has started a fresh hunt giving clear indication that it might field ‘smaller’ leaders like Ajai Rai or Rajesh Mishra from Varanasi — dumping their ‘formidable candidate’ theory against Modi.

Rai is a former BJP leader and belongs to the Bhumihar community. In 2009, he had switched over to the Samajwadi Party to contest against Murli Manohar Joshi. He stood third behind Joshi and the BSP candidate Mukhtar Ansari. He is known for a strong base among Brahmins and Bhumihars.

Another possible Congress name is of former MP Rajesh Mishra, who had earlier claimed that Gujarat CM would not win if he contested from Varanasi in the Lok Sabha. ‘BJP is playing the communal card in this coming election. The local people have understood the communal face of BJP and will ensure Modi’s defeat,’ Mishra said.

Sources said, Mishra, a Brahmin, might shore up pro-Brahmin votes from sections that were peeved with BJP’s sidelining of Murli Manohar Joshi, whom Modi replaced to contest from Varanasi.

Meanwhile, Narendra Modi on Saturday charged the Congress-led UPA government of becoming a burden and threat to the country. Modi, while holding major election rallies in Chandigarh, Gohana (Haryana) and Amroha (UP), said the country did not want ‘poison of communalism’ and needed safety and development instead, adding people wanted opportunities, not opportunism.

In Chandigarh, Modi’s ‘Bharat Vijay’ rally was cheered on by actress Kirron Kher among others. ‘This government has become a burden on the country. This government has become a threat for the country. The country is not secure with such a government which cannot protect its soldiers who are being beheaded (by Pakistan),’ said Modi.

Taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s remark that BJP’s ‘India Shining’ campaign balloons had burst in the 2004 elections, Modi said people have rejected Congress’ move to discredit the Gujarat model of development.

Modi lashed also out at Congress top brass for fielding tainted former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Chandigarh seat. ‘I want to ask the Congress why they removed Pawan Bansal from the union government. Why have you brought him in as a candidate?

What happened to the railway scam?’ Modi asked. Hinting at Congress’ non-serious attitude towards curbing corruption despite heavy rhetoric, BJP PM candidate hit out against Congress’ choice of controversial candidates like Ashok Chavan, who was an accused in the Adarsh housing society scam.
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