The leader of a fledgling Indian anti-corruption party announced his plans on Tuesday to stand against the election frontrunner and opposition leader, Narendra Modi, in the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state.
Arvind Kejriwal, head of the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, launched a scathing attack on the BJP prime ministerial nominee at a rally in the holy city challenging him to an open debate.
Although analysts say there is little likelihood of Kejriwal beating Modi, a challenge in such a high-profile constituency will guarantee maximum media coverage for him and his party.
The AAP, which is standing in its first general election, gained control of the Delhi state assembly in December after it rode a wave of anger about a series of corruption scandals.
Kejriwal himself briefly became Delhi’s chief minister after he unseated the incumbent Sheila Dikshit of the ruling Congress party in her constituency.
India’s nine-phase general election begins on April 7 and ends on May 12 in the giant state of Uttar Pradesh, which includes Varanasi. Counting and the results will be announced four days later on May 16.