The BJP on Monday dismissed AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal as no threat to its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi but the Aam Aadmi Party said it was ready for a showdown in Varanasi.
“We don’t take Kejriwal seriously. There is a Modi wave in the entire country,” Bharatiya Janata Party’s media convenor Harish Khurana said.
“Kejriwal has proved that he is an anarchist. His 49-day rule (in Delhi) was a complete disaster and he has lost credibility,” Mr. Khurana said.
“Let alone Uttar Pradesh, they will not be able to win a single seat even in Delhi,” he added.
The BJP’s comments came a day after Mr. Kejriwal announced in Bangalore that his party wanted him to take on Mr. Modi in Varanasi but that he would take a final decision in the Hindu holy city March 23.
A senior AAP leader told IANS that although Mr. Kejriwal’s decision would be known only a week from now, the party was all for a Kejriwal-Modi fight — much like the way Mr. Kejriwal took on Sheila Dikshit in Delhi.
“After Delhi, it is Uttar Pradesh and Haryana where our party has a strong base,” the aide said.
“The morale of party workers is high. And why not, we are going for the kill,” he added.
Addressing an election rally in Bangalore Sunday, Mr. Kejriwal rubbished Mr. Modi’s claims of putting Gujarat on a strong economic footing and crushing corruption in the state.
He accused the Gujarat Chief Minister of promoting “crony capitalism”.
In a decision aimed at winning the maximum number of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP has fielded Mr. Modi in Varanasi, one of the holiest of places for Hindus.
The BJP won only 10 Lok Sabha seats in 2009, a performance that eventually spiked its chances of ousting the Congress-led UPA in New Delhi.