Modi 'outsider' in Banaras, I am the 'son of soil': Ajay Rai

Describing himself as a "son of soil", Congress candidate Ajay Rai says the poll battle here will be mainly a contest with "outsider" Narendra Modi and dismisses any challenge from "deserter" Arvind Kejriwal.

A local man, Rai, who left BJP in 2009 after he was denied ticket from Varanasi to fight Lok Sabha polls and joined SP, is from 'Bhumihar' community which constitutes about 1.75 lakh in the total 16 lakh electorate in this temple town. Rai had a over decade-long stint in BJP.

"The electoral battle of Varanasi is between a 'son of soil' and an 'outsider'. It will take time to understand the flavour of this blissful and bold ancient city. An outsider like Modi will never understand it. Even Murli Manohar Joshi (sitting MP from BJP) could

not do it. The candidate who belongs to this place and can win people's trust, will win," Rai, a Congress legislator from Pindra assembly, told PTI.

Dismissing any challenge from AAP supremo Kejriwal, he says people of Varanasi will not trust a "deserter".

"He (Kejriwal) is not even in the contest. He is not able to win the heart of Delhiites where someone is throwing ink on him or someday he is getting slapped. Varanasi does not accept deserters as it is the city of Mahadev and respects bravehearts only," he says.

41-year-old Rai, who finished third after Joshi (BJP) and Mukhtar Ansari (BSP) in the 2009 elections, exudes confidence this time, saying Modi will not be able to win the trust of people of Varanasi, which votes on May 12.

"Modi is contesting from two seats (Varanasi and Vadodara) and the first question that arises in people's mind is which seat he is going to retain. Voters of Varanasi know that he has nothing to do with them and will run away from here.

"In Vadodara while filing his nomination papers, he (Modi) said that Gujarat is his 'janambhoomi' (birthplace) and 'karambhoomi' (place of work), so what is Varanasi?," he asks.

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