Modi, Akhilesh-Rahul show of strength in Varanasi

Modi, Akhilesh-Rahul show of strength in Varanasi

The temple town of Varanasi was starstruck on Saturday with all major political parties pitching their prominent leaders to campaign for the last phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls on March 8.      

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow in his Lok Sabha constituency, besides addressing an election rally, while SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav and his alliance partner and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held a joint roadshow to garner support for their candidates.

Modi, who will be staying here for the next two days, launched his roadshow after garlanding the statue of Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of the Banaras Hindu University.

His cavalcade traversed through the narrow lanes of Assi, Sonarpura, Madanpura,
Godaulia, Nichibagh, Maidagin and culminated at the Gujarat Vidya Mandir, covering a distance of 10 km.

Modi also paid obeisance at the Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples during his roadshow. He was showered with flowers from the rooftops,  amid chants of ‘Har har Modi, ghar ghar Modi’ by BJP workers.

Incidentally, it was Modi’s first visit to the Kaal Bhairav temple after winning the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from here.

The prime minister, who left for the neighbouring Jaunpur district to address a rally, returned in the evening and addressed an election meeting here.

Modi personally took charge of the saffron party’s campaign in Varanasi following reports of large-scale dissension within the local party unit over the selection of nominees in the district. Senior party leader and seven-time MLA Shyam Deo Roy Chowdhary, who was denied nomination, had withdrawn from campaigning.

The party also faced rebellion on some other seats as well and at least two senior leaders jumped into the fray as independents. Modi, however, succeeded in placating a sulking Chowdhary, who was seen by the prime minister’s side at Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The Opposition parties claimed that Modi’s decision to spend three days in his Lok Sabha constituency clearly reflected “panic” within the party.

But the BJP rejected this, saying that Modi, besides being the prime minister, was also the Lok Sabha member from Varanasi and therefore, the people wanted him to be with them.

In the next two days, Modi will be meeting party workers and leaders to discuss electoral strategy. He may also hold more roadshows in the town, BJP sources said.

SP-Cong roadshow
In a show of support, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife and SP star campaigner Dimple Yadav joined the Congress-SP roadshow.

The two leaders embarked on the roadshow from Kutchery area after garlanding the statue of Dalit icon B R Amebdkar. It ended at Godaulia after covering a distance of around 12 km.

The roadshow, that covered three Assembly seats in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, also traversed through Muslim-dominated localities of Golgadda and Pili Kothi.

It was the fourth joint roadshow by Rahul and Akhilesh. They had earlier held roadshows in Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Agra towns.

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