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Varanasi wants Narendra Modi to be BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from the city
Mystery continues over whether BJP's PM-in waiting Narendra Modi will contest Lok Sabha election from the city of lord Shiva Varanasi or the incumbent MP from the city Murli Manohar Joshi will once again get the party ticket.

Though Joshi has said that he would accept the decision of the party, which is likely to come on March 13, after the meeting of the BJP's highest decision-making body, its parliamentary board; however, to some extent the message which has gone out in the public was that there are differences within the party over issue of candidature from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

But amidst all the mystery, confusion and controversy; has anyone tried to know what the people from the Varanasi constituency want? Do they also want BJP to change its MP candidate and bring in Modi? Or they are satisfied with the tenure of Murli Manohar Joshi?

In a bid to get answers of the above questions, we spoke to few eminent people from Varanasi. The outcome of our conversation with them is that Varanasi wants Modi to be the BJP's MP candidate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls as it looks they are not happy at all with Joshi.

Lenin Raghuvanshi, a noted Human Rights Activist and founder of People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) said that the people of Varanasi are not happy with Murli Manohar Joshi.

Lenin said, "He being a Member of Parliament, did not bring up even a single issue in Parliament about the problems faced by the people of Varanasi. Even the BJP members in Varanasi want Narendra Modi to come in, although a small section in the party is still with Joshi."

He said that, people in Varanasi are looking for someone who could bring a change in the city and save the heritage of the city, as everything is in a bad shape.

Prof. Nand Lal, Head of Department of Political Science at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi said that there was still a dilemma over whether Modi would contest from Varanasi or Allahabad.

He said, "If Modi contests from Varanasi, then we will be welcoming the move." Prof. Lal was also not satisfied with Joshi's tenure and said that the senior BJP leader used to meet only special people and has never met the common man.

Dr. Arun Kumar Srivastav, an associate professor at DAV Post Graduate College, Varanasi said, "Joshi is a hi-fi neta (leader) and has done nothing for the development of Varanasi." He also complained that Joshi was never accessible to common man and the people of Varanasi saw him only during the last year's election campaign.

"Youth and middle class people in Varanasi are with Modi, and if Modi contests from Varanasi, then he will get a good majority from here," said Kumar.

A senior journalist from the city with a Hindi Daily Ajay Rai feels that, "Although people of Varanasi are excited about the idea of Modi contesting elections from Varanasi. But getting Muslim votes in Varanasi will be a challenge for him."

Pandit Vikash Maharaj, one of the leading Sarod performers of India. Born as a 14th generation musician in Banaras Gharana in Varanasi says that, "It does not matter to us who fights from here (Varanasi). We are with a leader who helps in the development of art and culture in Varanasi."

Varanasi is a stronghold of BJP, as it was retained by the party for two decades continuously, barring 2004, when the Congress won the seat. Actually BJP's Lok Sabha performance graph in Uttar Pradesh is not up to the mark and the party has been on a steady decline. Making a hold on UP is very important as the state has 80 Lok Sabha seats, which makes it the largest constituency.

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