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Varanasi Lok Sabha Election 2024: Congress' UP chief Ajay Rai to take on PM Narendra Modi

Hot seats in Lok Sabha Elections 2024: As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, the Congress party has nominated Ajai Rai for the Varanasi constituency, challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the third time.

Nitin Kumar Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 Varanasi Updated on: April 19, 2024 18:51 IST
Varanasi Lok Sabha Election 2024
Image Source : INDIA TV Varanasi Lok Sabha Election 2024: Congress's Ajay Rai to take on BJP’s Narendra Modi

With the Lok Sabha elections looming, the Congress party has featured Ajai Rai as their contender from Varanasi for the third time. Notably, Varanasi has been the stronghold constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014.

Ajai Rai: A political journey

Ajai Rai, the current Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, began his political career as a member of the Hindu nationalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He later transitioned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where he served as a student leader and actively participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Rai’s political trajectory saw him win the Kolasla seat in 1996 and secure a ministerial berth in the BSP-BJP alliance government. However, he parted ways with the BJP in 2007 and joined the Samajwadi Party before eventually aligning with the Congress in 2012.

Electoral history

Rai contested against PM Narendra Modi in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, securing the third position on both occasions. Despite being a former five-time MLA from Varanasi, his vote share was eclipsed by PM Modi’s overwhelming popularity.

Upcoming polls in Varanasi

The politically significant Varanasi constituency, comprising five assembly seats, is set for voting on June 1st. With over 19.62 lakh voters, including a significant number of first-time voters, the election dynamics in Varanasi are expected to be closely watched.

PM Modi to contest from Varanasi

In a parallel development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, marking his third consecutive bid from the constituency. BJP’s decision underscores Modi’s strong influence in Varanasi, where he secured resounding victories in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

PM Modi’s dominance in Varanasi

Known as the “road to Delhi,” Uttar Pradesh holds immense electoral significance, making Varanasi a crucial battleground. In 2014, PM Modi triumphed over political heavyweights Arvind Kejriwal and Ajay Rai with a decisive vote share. Similarly, in 2019, Modi’s victory was bolstered by nationalistic sentiments following the Pulwama attacks, further solidifying his hold over Varanasi.

Congress vs. PM Modi in Varanasi

With the Opposition allying, the contest in Varanasi is expected to intensify. The Samajwadi Party’s support for the Congress candidate adds a new dimension to the electoral landscape, setting the stage for a compelling showdown between Ajai Rai and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BSP has also fielded a candidate in Varanasi. In the sixth list of 11 candidates released on April 19, BSP fielded Sayyed Neyaz Ali against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi which goes to polls in the last phase of seven-phased general elections on June 1. The results of the elections will be declared on June 4. BSP had initially fielded Athar Jamal Lari against the Prime Minister, however, in the latest list of candidates, Lari was replaced by Ali.

 

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