New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and home minister Rajnath Singh has confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would seek re-election from Varanasi, while he would once again contest from Lucknow.
“I will contest from Lucknow. I have got a lot of love from the people of Lucknow. Modi Ji will contest from Benaras,” he said in an interview with News18 Network's Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi.
There had been a lot of speculation that in the April-May election, the Prime Minister may opt for another temple town, Puri, but Singh said he will stick with Varanasi, the seat he retained after winning two seats in the 2014 election.
The BJP's assessment is that having PM Modi as a candidate will help shore up its tally in Uttar Pradesh, where it had won a staggering 71 of 80 seats in 2014, but has faced setbacks in recent bypolls.
It also faces a stiff challenge in SP-BSP alliance, and a resurgent Congress, which wrested three Hindi heartland states in the assembly elections in December.
The speculation around Puri is a sign that the BJP is determined to improve its tally in Odisha, which also has an assembly election this year.
The BJP sees some potential to make up for any losses in northern states by improving its score in states like Odisha as well as Bengal.
Singh also confirmed that there was no question of him changing his constituency, amid rumours that he may contest from Noida this time.
The home minister had often said that he wants to carry on the legacy of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lucknow, a seat he had represented in the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms.
Singh had visited Lucknow last week and inaugurated projects worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore.