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In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, senior BJP leader Murli In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, senior BJP leader MurliManohar Joshi had won the seat defeating Mukhtar Ansari by amargin of 17,000 votes. Quami Ekta Dal's Ansari, who is known to have a strongsupport base among Muslims, has decided not to contest againstModi from the seat "to avoid division of secular votes". The four-time MLA from Mau is currently lodged in Agrajail in the BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai murder case. Congress candidate Ajay Rai, a Varanasi local, is an MLAfrom Pindra assembly constituency. Samajwadi Party's Kailash Chaurasiya is also a sitting MLAfrom nearby Mirzapur. Both Rai and Chaurasiya have already filed theirnominations. The entry of Modi and Kejriwal has escalated politicaltemperatures in the 'battle for Benares' turning it to be oneof the most keenly watched contest in the 2014 Lok Sabhapolls. PTI CORR MPBKND

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