Arvind Kejriwal told a capacity crowd at a rally in Varanasi today that he will take on the BJP’s Narendra Modi in the general elections in this temple town of Uttar Pradesh.The Aam Aadmi Party chief built a case for his candidacy by ripping into Mr Modi’s claims of development in Gujarat, the state he governs, and then said, “I will contest these elections against Modi from Varanasi.” He invited the BJP leader for an open debate alleging, “He doesn’t speak to anyone, comes by helicopters, holds a rally and leaves by helicopter. He has to come here and talk to the people of this country… and if Modi doesn’t come then you should realise that he is surely hiding something.”
Mr Kejriwal had said earlier this month that he would consult the people of the city on whether he should challenge the Gujarat chief minister in Varanasi, considered a BJP stronghold. At his rally today he said, “I want to ask you all, should I contest these elections against Narendra Modi? But I don’t have the power of money, I will come to you to ask for money. We will contest these elections with your money.”He asked people to take a month’s leave and campaign for him in Varanasi and also in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.