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Kejriwal to seek advice from Varanasi people on contesting against Modi

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal arrived in Varanasi to kickstart what would be the most-watched political contest in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal is scheduled to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple, perhaps the city’s best known temple. He will interact with morning walkers at some parks, besides calling on retired academics and current professors at the Banaras Hindu University.The AAP leader, who shocked Congress by unseating it from power in Delhi after 17 years, has said he is willing to contest against Modi, but would file papers only after seeking opinion — today’s visit is meant for the exercise — from the people of Varanasi.But most AAP workers believe the visit is a formality and Kejriwal has already decided on challenging BJP’s PM nominee and candidate for the seat Narendra Modi.In contesting against Modi, Kejriwal has signalled that he is willing to take his pugnacious battle with Modi a step further.
During his Gujarat tour in which he claimed to have exposed Modi’s development model and in calling out the mainstream media as being pro-Modi, Kejriwal has posed a direct challenge to the PM-aspirant.The BJP may dismiss it as a no-contest but Kejriwal has demonstrated willingness to take Modi head on, something that the Congress has been diffident about.Polling for the Varanasi seat will be held on May 12, four days before votes are counted, in the final round of the nine-phase elections that kick off on April 7.Kejriwal hasn’t been known to shy away from taking political risks and his poll battle with Modi will invariably become a big story till the Lok Sabha polls end.The Kejriwal-Modi face-off will admittedly be big on political messaging, but the battle for Varanasi would be fought outside the constituency — at rallies that both leaders address across the country over the next two months.The party was keen to pit Kejriwal against Modi in a repeat of Delhi but outside Gujarat, a party leader said.”We wanted him to take on Modi only if he contested from outside Gujarat so that the Gujarat CM would not have the language advantage,” the leader said.

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