Free Press Journal

Varanasi seat row: BJP should consider ‘winnablity’ aspect


New Delhi: Amid reports of his unhappiness over moves to field Narendra Modi from his constituency Varanasi, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi today sent out a subtle message to the party leadership by saying it should keep in mind the winnability aspect besides the “prestige” of the Prime Ministerial candidate while taking a decision.

Joshi, 80, who is believed to have raised the issue at the meeting of BJP’s Election Committee meeting here yesterday, broke his silence today, saying a decision on who will contest will be taken by the Parliamentary Board which will meet on Thursday.

“The decision will be taken by Parliamentary Board. A meeting (of CEC) is taking place on March 13,” he told reporters here.

When repeatedly pressed for his expectations and whether he would agree to Modi contesting from Varanasi, Joshi, a five-time Lok Sabha MP, was non-committal.

He said, “The party would take a decision which will neither dent the prestige of our PM candidate nor compromise party’s winning chances,” implying that he is the best bet.

For the record, the senior leader said he would accept party’s decision as a “disciplined soldier”.

Joshi is believed to be unhappy over moves to field Modi from Varanasi. Some sections of the party are keen that Modi should contest from Varanasi but Joshi is asserting his right over his candidature from the constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

To repeated questions on whether he would agree to any decision, he shot back, “every disciplined soldier accepts” the party’s decision.

He went on to add, “I don’t talk about such issues outside. Whatever I say is within the party.”

At the same time, he trashed reports of a poster war between supporters of Modi and him in the constituency as the “mental fiction” of media.

At the meeting of BJP’s Election Committee yesterday, Joshi is believed to have sought clarity from the leadership on the issue.

Another senior leader Sushma Swaraj, who is understood to have joined Joshi on the issue at the meeting yesterday, tried to downplay any rift in the party.