BJP Flashes V; Kejriwal will Win: AAP; Cong Confident
As polling percentage in Varanasi was set to touch 60% on Monday from 42.61% in the previous elections, BJP claimed that its PM candidate Narendra Modi would get more than 60% votes even as the p a r t y ’s r iv a l s AAP a n d t h e Congress also interpreted the higher turnout to their advantage.
“About 65% of the total votes polled are in Modi’s favour and his margin of victory will be immense this time,” claimed Modi’s campaign manager Sunil Deodhar, who had conducted a pre-poll survey in the constituency.
Deodhar told ET that as per the party’s assessment from the survey and the additional inputs from the workers on the ground, Kejriwal would get 12-13% votes while the share of the Congress and SP would be less than 10% each. “Kejriwal will be at a substantial distance on his second spot,” said Deodhar, who had earlier steadfastly refused to acknowledge AAP convenor Kejriwal as the chief challenger to Modi in the holy city. Over one lakh voters were added to the electorate in Varanasi since 2009 polls, taking the constituency’s total to nearly 17 lakh this time. Team Kejriwal rubbished the BJP’s claims, with a senior member saying that the party chief would “pull off a win in a close contest with a small margin”. Nearly 80% Muslim and 40% members of the Patel community have voted for Kejriwal, as have the Backward communities in large numbers, the member claimed. “ThemediaandBJPbothpresumed that backward community votes, particularly the Patel votes, would all consolidate behind BJP due to its alliance with Apna Dal, but our feedback reports from the rural areas show that 40% of those votes are in our favour,” said the AAP member. Similarly, Congress members said the party’s candidate Ajay Rai would win one lakh votes more than he did last time. “The propaganda of Bhumihar and Muslim voters going against the Congress will be proven untrue on May 16,” said a senior member of Rai’s strategy team.