Did Kejriwal decide not to contest from Vadodara to help Congress?

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal put up a grand show last month in Varanasi to come to the conclusion that he should contest against Narendra Modi from the holy city.

If defeating Modi is the aim, then why not also from Vadodara?

Well enough. An ambitious player must challenge the most prominent opponent to make a mark of his own. But the question is: If Kejriwal indeed wants to defeat Modi, then why didn't he also challenge the BJP's prime ministerial candidate from Vadodara in Gujarat? Modi is also contesting from this seat in his own state. If stopping Modi is the only aim, then why not also stop his chances from getting elected in Vadodara?

Why did the AAP avoid an urban centre like Vadodara?

Kejriwal of course has other calculations. The AAP has said that it doesn't believe in anybody contesting from two seats in the same election and hence Kejriwal chose only one seat to challenge Modi. But then why Kejriwal hasn't chosen Vadodara over Varanasi? Afterall, the AAP is a party with a strong urban base. A centre like Vadodara could have served it better than Varanasi.

Kejriwal had a chance to expose Modi's 'flukes' since 2002 but he let it go?

Moreover, Kejriwal has been saying time and again that the lack of an opposition has helped Modi win in Gujarat for three consecutive terms. Well, if that is the case, why didn't he take this opportunity to expose Modi in his own land? Or was it an attempt to save the 'non-existent' opposition?

Was the concern to help Congress save its face in Anand & Dahod?

Did Kejriwal deliberately avoid contesting from Vadodara to help a beleaguered Congress in Gujarat? The decision to field Modi from Vadodara has been taken perhaps to maximise his appeal in the neighbouring constituencies like Anand and Dahod, which are known to be Congress strongholds even in an age of Modi storm. Did Kejriwal read the pitch and decided not to contest from Vadodara so that the Congress's vote-share didn't get hit?

AAP hasn't fielded any candidate from Vadodara: Is it afraid or is there a plan?

The AAP, in fact, has not fielded any candidate from the Vadodara seat. In 2009, the BJP's vote-share was 18.2% more than the Congress in Vadodara. The victory margin in Vadodara in terms of votes and vote-share was the highest in Gujarat. The AAP's avoiding the Vadodara question points at either of the two possibilities: It is nervous to take on Modi from a strong BJP base or it is unwilling to eat into the Congress's votes in a region which still offers some hope to the grand-old party.

The AAP hasn't put up strong candidates against the Congress, unlike what was expected, barring some constituencies in the North. However, it has put up candidates in all seats except Vadodara in Gujarat, a BJP-dominated state. Even a considerable presence of minorities in the constituency has not excited the AAP to contest from Vadodara even as its leader prefers to stop speeches mid-way to show respect to the Muslim prayer? Or is it leaving the job for Madhusudan Mistry to take up?

Kejriwal's plans to back his own political ambitions (and may be those of the Congress) have been conceived smartly. His politics has many layers and those who see it only as an anti-corruption initiative may have failed to see beyond the nose.

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