Prime Minister Narendra Modi may contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from two seats, top sources have indicated to Republic TV, adding Gujarat's Vadodara constituency to Varanasi which is his current seat.
The Prime Minister, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, had also contested from the same two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He had won the Vadodara election by a massive margin over the second-placed Congress candidate, securing almost 8.5 lakh votes versus the 2.75 lakh votes of INC's Madhusudan Mistry. The third-placed candidate - Sunil Digambar Kulkarni of the Aam Aadmi Party - secured just 10 thousand votes. Narendra Modi's winning margin in Vadodara was the second-highest ever in the Lok Sabha polls, behind only Anil Basu of the CPI(M) who won the Arambagh seat in West Bengal by about 5.9 lakh votes in 2004.
In Varanasi, Narendra Modi had gone up against Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, securing 5.8 lakh votes versus Kejriwal's 2.1 lakh votes. The Congress candidate for Varanasi had only managed 75 thousand votes, while the BSP candidate got 60 thousand votes and the SP candidate got 45 thousand votes.
Shortly after taking oath as the Prime Minister, however, Narendra Modi vacated the Vadodara seat in order to comply with rules that bar a Member of Parliament representing two constituencies. The BJP's Ranjanben Dhananjay Bhatt won the subsequent by-election and is the current MP of Vadodara.
As per sources, the decision to contest once more from both seats - Varanasi and Vadodara - is in order to reinforce the Prime Minister's pan-India appeal as he once again enters the elections as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
Little over a week earlier, the Congress had made an announcement over its two biggest leaders - Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Both will be contesting from their current seats, Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively. Union Minister Smriti Irani is more than likely to once again contest against Rahul Gandhi, having come close to unseating him in 2014.
The Election Commission had announced on Sunday that the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha would begin on April 11 and go on till May 19, with vote-counting set to take place on May 13. The model code of conduct is now active.