Arvind Kejriwal is definitely right on his comment. There is no point in contesting two seats. Only those people contest in more than one seat, who lack confidence in winning a seat. Does Modi lack confidence? Should he contest for just one seat? Will Modi contest only from Varanasi or Gujarat only?
In fact Modi is in a trap now. After declaration of his candidature he can’t withdraw from Varanasi. But he knows very well, even after BJP coming to power riding on his popularity and hard work, his losing an election would stop all doors for him to Delhi.
Now let’s discuss Modi’s chances in winning the Varanasi seat. Modi should turn triumphant in Varanasi, as history suggest. BJP has won most of the time in Varanasi (except 2004 election). In 2009 Murali Manohar Joshi won the seat having a vote share of just 30.52 per cent. BSP was a close second with 27.94 per cent followed by SP at 18.61 per cent.
At this point 30 per cent vote share would never help Modi winning. There is every possibility that SP, BSP and Congress would be combined to find a common candidate against Modi. As per 2009 election results, the vote share comes to 56.55 per cent and with such vote share BJP is sure to lose the election.
Even at the moment BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari is the challenger. As per calculation, Varanasi has got 18 per cent dalit votes and 15 per cent Muslim votes. Combination of the two communities gives around 33 per cent votes in support of the BSP candidate. If Congress’ 10 per cent vote is added, it comes up to 43 per cent. Thus SP backs BSP candidate or not, it would be very difficult for Modi to win in such a condition. Modi can win in only one condition that it has to fetch more than fifty per cent votes in his favour else, will lose the seat. You may be most popular face in India, but UP ground realities is so tricky. Thus Kejriwal is not a factor at all. In all probability if BSP, Congress and SP make a tactical understanding, Modi would lose that seat.
Whatever I analyzed above, the BJP must have analyzed too. Then why have they asked Modi to risk his election at Varanasi? If Modi is likely to lose from here, how it would have a ripple effect on so called 67 seats? Isn’t it confusing?
But in a closer scrutiny, it appears to be a smart strategy. Modi contesting in UP seat would compel SP, BSP, Congress and even other parties like left (CPI especially) to contest against Modi united. Everybody would extent support to Mukhtar Ansari. Uniting all the opposition, Modi might be risking Varanasi seat, but on the other hand it is counter consolidating BJP support in all other seats in UP and Bihar.
If Modi makes BJP versus rest in Varanasi, supports base of BJP candidates would grow significantly in other seats as there will be an impression of no difference between SP, BSP and Congress. Thus BSP and SP would experience Congress anti-incumbency effect too. People will stand behind BJP candidate. Thus, this is the Varanasi gamble of Modi and very well thought out plan. Even, in case Modi wins, it would be an incredible record. Thus Kejriwal doesn’t matter here. He might contest but would end up number 3 or less, as real contestant would be Ansari. SP, BSP and Congress would never accept Kejriwal as their common candidate.
Now what about Kejriwal’s question of Modi contesting two seats? Answer is simple, Modi would ignore his comments. He would contest from Gujarat for wining surely and may indirectly ask Kejriwal to contest him in Gujarat.
The result of Varanasi gamble would be known only after elections, but knowing the real strategy, one should be sure that Modi would contest from Gujarat in addition to Varanasi. People remember winners and not results. In this case Modi at least for the party sake is ready to contest in a sticky wicket. Thus, he should be applauded.