Top contests of 2014: Sriprakash Jaiswal versus Murli Manohar Joshi

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Kanpur, March 18: BJP's MM Joshi will take on Congress's Sriprakash Jaiswal from the Kanpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Joshi shifted his base from Varanasi after BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was fielded from this seat. The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Dr Mahmood Husain Rehmani from this seat.

[Read: Top contests of 2014]

2009 result: Sriprakash Jaiswal beat BJP's Satish Mahana by 18,906 votes.

Kanpur will go to the election on April 30.

About Sriprakash Jaiswal (Congress)

Jaiswal, 70, the Union Coal Minister, won from this seat in 1999, 2004 and 2009 and each time he defeated a BJP candidate. The man came to the headlines over the coal scam although he himself was not in charge of the ministry at the time of the allocation of the coal blocks. He also stirred up a controversy by making a sexist remark at a function in his constituency a couple of years ago. Jaiswal's victories on the last two occasions were not big and political observers feel it would not be easy for him to pull it off this time, against the Brahmin and Muslim opponents.

About Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP)

A former minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government, 80-year-old Joshi was shifted to Kanpur from Varanasi to accommodate Modi. Joshi was a three-time MP from Allahabad but contested from Varanasi in 2009 after losing from Allahabad in 2004. The party supporters in Kanpur are happy over the decision to field Joshi for they believe a strong Brahmin candidate can wrest the seat, which has about 35 per cent Brahmin voters, from Jaiswal.

BJP feels a strong Brahmin candidate like Joshi will stop Jaiswal's run

Analysis: The Kanpur constituency has a considerable number of Brahmin and Muslim voters. The Congress feels that Joshi's presence will consolidate the anti-BJP and Muslim votes in its favour. But the fact that the BSP and AAP have fielded Muslim candidates from this seat could divide the Muslim votes. The Scehduledf Caste and OBCs will also play a key role in deciding the outcome from this constituency.

The Congress believes that like it had tackled the communists here before the rise of the BJP, it would also tackle the saffron party here. It also thinks that the BJP's delay in deciding its candidate would work in its favour. But for the BJP, the poor record of the UPA in governance will act to the Congress's detriment while its chances will be bettered by Joshi's clean image.

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