In a bid to woo voters in his own constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow for the second consecutive day in Varanasi today.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has left no stone unturned to ‘save their prestige’ and ensure that the saffron brigade emerges victorious on all the seats of Varanasi.
To reach out to as many voters as possible, the Prime Minister landed at the Police Lines helipad here prior to his road show, which began from Pandeypur Chauraha and culminated at MG Kashi Vidyapeeth.
Though the locals as well as outsiders came out in large numbers to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister, it didn’t manage to match the crowd that was present at Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow in the holy city.
Speaking to InUth, a shopkeeper said, “Akhilesh and Rahul created history yesterday, the crowd here is also good but not like the SP-Congress one.”
Dinesh Mishra, who is a local businessman said, “PM Modi is becoming unpopular now. On development part, nothing much has changed even after three years of PM being elected as a lawmaker from the city. On the other hand Akhilesh has gained a lot of popularity after the family feud, hence people came in huge numbers for him.”
‘Modi, Modi’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ slogans were raised by the supporters as the Prime Minister waved at them.
It was a clear attack on the BJP when Rahul and Akhilesh held their mega road show yesterday in this temple town of Uttar Pradesh. The streets of Varanasi had transformed into a sea of red. Hundreds of supporters wearing the Samajwadi Party’s red ‘topi’ and waving flags and banners bearing the Congress party’s ‘hand’ and SP’s ‘cycle’ symbols lined up in the narrow streets, cheering for Rahul and Akhilesh.
Worked up by the support for SP-Congress alliance, the BJP is doing all it can to garner as many votes as its last ditch effort to win Varanasi. Winning in the temple town has become more like a prestige issue for the BJP.
It’s not just about the votes but the fact that if the party fails to showcase a convincing victory in the Prime Minister’s constituency, it will send out a negative message to its cadre and raise questions over Modi’s leadership and influence in the entire state.
BJP’s nervousness is evident for some obvious reasons. In a desperate move, PM Modi yesterday held a roadshow without even taking the permission from the administration. The Congress even lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, alleging that the show of strength was made without the requisite permission.
Also, Varanasi, as propagated by the BJP, has never been a bastion for BJP, in fact for any party at all.
The voting pattern here has been mixed and confusing in Assembly Elections. In 2012, BJP had won 3 out of 8 Assembly Seats here. These 3 were out of total 4 which had gone to BJP in the entire Poorvanchal region’s 40 seats, leading to a poor show in Assembly elections.
To show their strength, the BJP had even sent party workers from outside. Neeraj Gupta, a party member had come here from Kanpur to take part in the roadshow.
“I’ve been sent here from Kanpur for campaigning. I will be here till March 8 and even we want to show our strength,” said Gupta.
Speaking to InUth on condition of anonymity, a party official said, “We didn’t expect Akhilesh-Rahul roadshow to be such a hit. We will now work harder to convince the voters to vote for us, because the fight will be very tough now.”
The seventh and final phase of polling is scheduled to take place in the state on March 8. The results will be declared on March 11