"I have written to her to allow me to contest from Varanasi. Banaras (Varanasi) is a very secular city, and I am sure people of Varanasi will support me," the former MP said.

Describing AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is in the fray from Varanasi, as the ‘B team of the BJP’, Alvi said, "I am sure the people of Varanasi will support me."

The Congress is still undecided on its candidate from Varanasi.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had earlier hinted that he would want to contest the elections from Varanasi. Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had also expressed the desire to contest against Modi.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Quami Ekta Dal (QED) leader Mukhtar Ansari is expected to contest from this seat. Quami Ekta Dal is currently in talks with the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to build a consensus on the issue.

Mukhtar, who is presently lodged in Agra jail, had given a tough fight to BJP candidate Murli Manohar Joshi during the 2009 parliamentary elections by bagging 1.87 lakh votes.

Mukhtar had contested the last Lok Sabha polls on BSP ticket.

The Congress president had last week said that her party will ‘definitely challenge’ Modi in Varanasi by fielding a strong candidate.

“We will definitely challenge the Varanasi seat. The candidate has not been decided yet," she said while releasing the Congress manifesto last week.

The Congress has fielded AICC general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry, a close confidante of Rahul Gandhi, to take on Modi in Vadodara - the second seat from where BJP's prime ministerial candidate is contesting.

Mistry, who had won the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Sabarkantha, Gujarat, is at present a Rajya Sabha member.


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