A day after his massive roadshow in Varanasi on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will file his election papers today in the Uttar Pradesh temple town from where he is seeking re-election. Several top BJP leaders and allies in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are in Varanasi to join in a show of strength as PM Modi files papers to contest the national election.
Before heading to the election centre, PM Modi addressed thousands of BJP workers.
“A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in country for the first time after independence. People across the nation are saying… Fir Ek Baar…?” PM Modi prompted. “Modi Sarkar,” the workers chanted on cue.
“Earlier governments were formed, but in the past five years, people saw a government run. I never said I am Prime Minister and denied anybody a meeting. I never refused to meet a single karyakarta (worker). I never let the Karyakarta in me die. I am aware of my duties as PM, as well as an MP.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan are expected to be present when the Prime Minister files his nomination, the BJP had said.
Leaders of the AIADMK, the Apna Dal and the North-East Democratic Alliance will also be present, the BJP said.
The Prime Minister will visit the famous Kal Bhairav temple in the city.
On Thursday, PM Modi began his 7-km roadshow by garlanding the statue of Madan Mohan Malviya at the iconic Banaras Hindu University.
The Prime Minister waved at thousands of people on the roads from the sunroof of his SUV as he took his roadshow by ancient temples and ghats. The roadshow, that lasted for two-and-a-half hours ended in the Dashashwamedh ghat.
The prime minister also attended the evening aarti at this ghat on the banks of the river Ganga.
Speaking after the roadshow, the PM stressed on national security, saying the government had dealt effectively against terrorism. In an apparent reference to the Balakot air strike after Pakistan-based terrorists killed over 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in February, PM Modi said the world now backed India in its fight against terror.
Facing PM Modi in Varanasi will be Ajay Rai of the Congress, who finished third in 2014. The Congress move ended speculation about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra challenging the Prime Minister in this election.
The Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party are fielding Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker,as as the grand alliance candidate from Varanasi.
PM Modi had won from Varanasi by a huge margin, winning 5.8 lakh votes. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal came second with around two lakh votes. Ajay Rai was left with a mere 75,000 votes.
Varanasi votes on May 19 in the last round of the seven-phase national election. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
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