The historic city of Uttar Pradesh ranked 96 among 97 cities across the country which competed for inclusion in the first list that was announced by Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
"The (Urban Development) Ministry has no role in the selection. The result is based on a competition," said a senior Urban Development Ministry official while explaining why Varanasi is not in the list.
Each state was given a quota of nominations on the basis of size, population and the number of notified cities.
Uttar Pradesh had got the maximum quota of 13 cities for nomination but only 12 cities including Jhansi, Moradabad, Saharanpur and Bareli participated in the contest.
However, none of them qualified in the first list. With regard to the 13th city, the remained indecisive on choosing between Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi's constituency) and Meerut.
Jammu and Kashmir, which had to send name for just one city, did not send any nomination as it did not take a call on whether it should be Srinagar or Jammu. Altogether 97 cities participated in the competition for the first list.
The list was topped by Bhubaneswar while Dehradun was at the bottom. The states which have not found a place in the list of first 20 are Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.