Varanasi (Kashi) is the cultural capital of Uttar Pradesh. Also known as ?Bhole ki Nagari? (the city of God Shankar), Varanasi boasts of the famous Kashi Vishvanath Mandir. In this parliamentary constituency, which is replete with cultural heritage, the famous educationist and former HRD Minister Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is the BJP candidate. He has been the MP from Allahabad constituency for four terms.
It is appalling to mention that two muscle and money powers are fighting against Dr. Joshi. Mukhtar Ansari, MLA from Mau, is the BSP candidate. Mukhtar Ansari, a mafia don of eastern UP, is directly involved in more than two dozen criminal cases including murder and communal riots. The then treasurer of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Nand Kishor Rungta was kidnapped and murdered a decade ago. Mukhtar is alleged to be the mastermind behind that crime. He is also alleged to be involved in the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanad Ray. Mukhtar Ansari, who is in jail, is said to have relations with mafia don Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind behind 1993 Mumbai blasts.
Another candidate Ajay Ray has also a criminal background. He is MLA from Kolasala assembly constituency. Mukhtar Ansari and Ajay Ray are the opponent in criminal field. Mukhtar was alleged to be involved in the murder of Vijay Ray (brother of Ajay Ray) in the early nineties. It is said that mafia don Brajesh Singh is behind Ajay Ray. In the criminal world, Brajesh Singh and Mukhtar Ansari are the two known names.
After the Ramjanmabhoomi movement of 1990, the constituency has been the stronghold of BJP. Shankar Prasad Jaysawal of BJP had been elected four times from here. In the last elections (2004), he lost the seat by marginal votes. This time BJP has changed its candidate and Dr. MM Joshi is contesting from here. Having a clean image in political field, Dr. Joshi, being HRD Minister, took many landmark decisions to purify the education system of the country. Being MP of Allahabad for four terms, he initiated a number of projects for the welfare of the public. The people of Allahabad remember him as a leader, who has sacrificed himself to the cause of public welfare. Allahabad University has become the central university because of the efforts of Dr. Joshi. The Naini bridge on the river Yamuna is also the result of Dr. Joshi'sefforts. Dr. Joshi'sonly agenda is development of his constituency and this image will certainly pay him in the elections.