"I don't think Rahul Gandhi has come here personally to defeat Modi and it is his right to campaign for Congress candidate and Modi had also gone to Amethi for campaigning for BJP candidate there," senior party leader Amit Shah said. (JPN/Agencies)
Modi had campaigned for BJP candidate Smriti Irani ahead of polls in Amethi, from where Rahul Gandhi is in the fray – thus breaking an informal code of top BJP leaders staying away from the Gandhi bastion.
Therefore, Rahul's massive roadshow today in Varanasi is being seen as a retaliation measure on the part of the Congress.
However, the BJP's general secretary reiterated party's demand for removal of Returning Officer of Varanasi for denying permission to Modi’s rally two days ago.
"Things may not change even after appointment of a special election observer, as long as local officers remain the same," he said.
The Election Commission last evening appointed Tamil Nadu's Chief Electoral Officer Pravin Kumar as the special observer for Varanasi, where voting will take place on May 12.
Shah told reporters that the local administration was working "under pressure" of the Uttar Pradesh Government.
When asked whom BJP considers the bigger rival between AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajay Rai in Varanasi, Shah said that BJP has no competition from any candidate.
Shah also dismissed the talks about the possibly becoming the next chief minister of Gujarat in the event of Modi becoming Prime Minister.
"My party will decide on my next role, the party has made me general secretary and in-charge of UP and my aim is only to ensure that the party gets more than 272 seats to form the next government," Shah said.
Another BJP leader Arun Jaitley also continued his attack on local authorities for allowing Rahul Gandhi's roadshow today to pass through Beniabagh, the same area where Modi was denied to hold a public rally two days ago.
"It was for political reasons that BJP was not allowed to hold this rally and this would remain a black mark on the Indian democracy as a candidate was denied permission for holding a rally in his own constituency,” Jaitley said.
"It seems that security risks are only limited to one party and not to the three others," he added.
"I don't think Rahul Gandhi has come here personally to defeat Modi and it is his right to campaign for Congress candidate and Modi had also gone to Amethi for campaigning for BJP candidate there," senior party leader Amit Shah said.