Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal will not be contesting from Varanasi in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The party said it will field a strong candidate for the seat. "Kejriwal will not contest the Lok Sabha polls, as he wants to give special focus to his state. The AAP will contest on all the Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Goa. The party will contest on some seats in UP, and final modalities will be worked out by February. Apart from Varanasi, the party will contest from seats in eastern and western UP, where the organisation is strong," AAP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh told news agency PTI.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat by defeating Kejriwal by a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes. Modi polled more than 5,16,500 votes -- about half of the total votes. Kejriwal managed to secure more than 2 lakh votes and was far ahead of other contestants including Ajay Rai of the Congress, Vijay Prakash Jaiswal of the BSP and Kailash Chaurasia of the SP.
Singh said in Delhi his party is working on education, health, farmers, power and providing drinking water. "If we foray into national politics, then our issues will be education for all, free education to economically weaker sections of the society, ending unemployment and implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission," Singh said.
On a recent statement made by Kejriwal to not vote for the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Singh said: "Kejriwal was quoted out of context. He had said in a meeting in the national capital that if you want to defeat the BJP, then do not waste your vote by casting it in favour of the Congress. His statement was in the context of Delhi, from where the AAP is contesting on all the seats."
(With PTI inputs)