Varanasi, or Kashi as is also referred to, is the home of Lord Shiva, the Lord of death and destruction. Will this phase of elections turn Varanasi into a death zone for the most looked at politicians of the country? Quite possible.
Narendra Modi, BJP’s anointed heir to the throne will contest from here. AAP’s giant killer Arvind Kejriwal is also most likely to join the fray. Mukhtar Ansari, who contested last elections on BSP ticket has also declared that he will contest again. Samajwadi Party, which stood third in the last election might field the same candidate, Ajai Rai this time too. Congress which stood at fourth place is yet to announce their candidate.
The Parliamentary constituency has 15, 70, 183 voters, but the last time, only 6,65,490 voters expressed their franchisee. Murali Manohar Joshi representing BJP got 2 lakhs, three thousand odd votes with about 30% of voters choosing him, making him the winner. Mukhtar Ansari, the mafia don turned politician, representing the 38% muslim population, got almost one lakh eighty six thousand votes, about 28% of votes polled to stand second in the final tally, with just about 17 thousand losing margin. Samajwadi Party got a little more than 18% mandate in their favor.
Varanasi residents have openly said that Joshi may not be favored this time as he is getting old apart from other issues of dissatisfaction with him. The constituency never elected a muslim leader, but Ansari manages to repeat his performance, the sharing of Hindu voters would turn the battle fierce for the other candidates. If Kejriwal keeps on attracting public attention the same way, meeting BJP and Modi head on, the way he has been doing past month or so, he will be difficult to ignore. SP and Congress performance, or the number of votes they can stop from being polled to either Modi or Kejriwal, will change the game entirely.
Samajwadi Party, Congress and Apna Dal together garnered almost forty per cent votes last time. Unless the voting percentage hugely improves, or the Modi wave really shows existence in the voting booth too, BJP will find this a tough battle ground. For Kejriwal too, the combining of anti BJP vote with torn off Congress, SP vote will seal his fate here. If at all he manages to continue with the hype he has managed so far, he will become the biggest giant killer the country has ever seen.
Varanasi, the land of Lord Shiva, sure looks to be the place of political death for one or the other leader this time. Will there be any political ‘mukti’ to who ever might die?