Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal today said he was ready to contest the Lok Sabha polls against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, but would take a decision at his party's rally in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on March 23.
"The party wants me to contest against Modi, but the people of Varanasi will tell me on March 23," Kejriwal said in Bangalore, sending the political mercury soaring, reports The Hindustan Times.
Underlining that it was "important to defeat Modi", the former Delhi chief minister said: "It is a very big challenge. It is not a small challenge... I am ready to accept this challenge." But Kejriwal quickly added he will take a decision after judging the response of the people in Varanasi.
Kejriwal had set the tone for the tantalising contest through a tweet at 12.15pm, saying: “Many people asking me - "will I contest against Modi?" I will talk on this issue in today's rally at Bangalore (sic).”
Kejriwal’s decision comes a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared Modi as the candidate from Varanasi, whose sitting parliamentarian Murli Manohar Joshi has been given the BJP ticket from Kanpur.