"Huge Difference Between BJP Of Past, Present": Congress' Varanasi Candidate

"Modi-ji can count how many times he has come to Benaras. We were born here and will live here," Ajai Rai said


Prime Minister Narendra Modi might represent Varanasi in parliament, but he is mostly missing from the constituency and is not in touch with the locals, Ajai Rai, the Congress candidate and its state unit chief in Uttar Pradesh, told NDTV today.

"Modi-ji can count how many times he has come to Benaras. We were born here and will live here," he said, levelling the outsider tag at the Prime Minister, who contested from outside his home state, Gujarat, in 2014.

"There is a huge difference between the earlier BJP and today's BJP. Earlier one could stop Chief Ministers on the way and talk to them, but not today's Chief Ministers," he said.

"No worker from Banaras have ever seen Modi-ji, let alone  stopping him on the road and talking to him... This is the BJP of 2G. It is not run by politicians but by corporates," he added.

Mr Rai, who was named by the Congress as its candidate this weekend, will be contesting against the Prime Minister for the third time.

He had lost to the Prime Minister both in 2014 and 2019 -- indicating that Varanasi, a BJP stronghold, does not place much premium on the "son of the soil" argument.

In 2014, PM Modi won with over 56% vote share, while Mr Rai managed to get around 75,000 votes. In 2019, Mr Rai got around 14 per cent of the votes compared to PM Modi's 63 per cent.

On a different note, Mr Rai, who is also the state Congress chief, assured that the candidates for the Congress bastion Raebareli and Amethi, which has gone over to the BJP in 2019, will be announced shortly.   

"Just as the suspense about Varanasi was removed, that of Amethi and Raebareli will also be removed. The people from both constituencies desire that someone from the Gandhi family contest elections," he said.