Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins Varanasi roadshow in a sea of saffron supporters: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday began his high-voltage roadshow in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi. He will be filing the nomination forms tomorrow. In a show of strength, PM Modi garlanded the statue of Banaras Hindu University founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya before embarking on his roadshow. Before that, he acknowledged thousands of supporters by bowing to them several times and in different directions.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made a hurried entry before the PM’s convoy reached the BHU gate. Adityanath could be seen waving, flashing the victory sign to supporters and smiling broadly. The roadshow will cover 6 km from the Lanka Ghat to Dashashwamedh Ghat through the ancient city and will end with the maha-aarti of the Ganga.
Senior BJP leaders, sports stars and artists are expected to attend the show. Reports said Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal would take part in the roadshow, besides BJP president Amit Shah.
The weather in Varanasi is about 39-degree Celsius with the wind speed of around 8 Km per hour. This would be PM Modi’s first roadshow in the poll-bound parliamentary seat after three phases of voting in the Lok Sabha 2019 elections. Varanasi goes to vote on May 19 in the last and seventh phase of the elections. The expectation of many people including journalists that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will face PM Modi in Varanasi fell flat today when the Congress chose its 2014 candidate and local strongman Ajay Rai to contest against Modi again. Though Priyanka had said she was willing to contest from Varanasi, the party didn’t choose to field another Gandhi scion.
In 2014, Prime Minister Modi won by over 3.7 lakh votes with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal second and Congress nominee Ajay Rai third. For this election, the Samajwadi Party has fielded Shalini Yadav as part of the Bahujan Samaj Party-SP gathbandhan which had not left the field vacant for the Congress like it did in the party strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli.
The BSP-SP has put up a strong challenge against the BJP in the last 3 phases in Uttar Pradesh but its continuance in Varanasi will be unlikely given the buzz the temple town exuded ahead of the roadshow. Varanasi was festooned for a saffron party today and tomorrow will see more activities as the PM files his nomination.