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After a Mega Roadshow, Narendra Modi Files Nomination From Varanasi

Varanasi will vote in the seventh and last phase of polling on June 1, just before the results are out on June 4 to spell out the political destiny of the country.
Narendra Modi with BJP and NDA leaders in Varanasi on Tuesday. Photo: X/@narendramodi

Varanasi: Barely 12 hours after accomplishing his much-hyped five-km-long mega roadshow through the streets  of this ancient Hindu city, Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Tuesday filed his nomination for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.

Like his multiple visits to his constituency that is popularly known as the city of Baba Vishwanath, Modi’s nomination was yet again a huge event. And to top it all,Modi ensured that his proposers represent different sections of Hindu society. Thus if there was well-known local astrologer Gyaneshwar Shastri representing the Brahmin community, there were Baijnath Patel and Lalchand Kushwaha to fit the OBC bill, while Sabjay Sonkar was specially brought on board as a Dalit. That no Muslim figured among his proposers was a foregone conclusion.

Varanasi will vote in the seventh and last phase of polling on June 1, just before the results are out on June 4 to spell out the political destiny of the country.

As if to endorse their commitment to seeing Modi as India’s prime minister for the third consecutive time, chief ministers of a dozen states descended on this soil to be in attendance. Most prominent of these remained UP chief minister Adityanath, whose saffron robes provided the Hindutva hue to the whole show. Besides, leaders of smaller political outfits which form part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also made it a point to stand behind the prime minister.

Unlike the previous day when he meandered through the streets of Varanasi atop a decked up vehicle, donning a sparkling saffron silk kurta with a spotless white waistcoat, Modi was now in different attire. Draped in a white kurta and a blue waistcoat, he walked into the chamber of the district magistrate cum returning officer, before whom he submitted his nomination papers at 11:40 am. This was not his Hindutva icon face that one witnessed the previous evening. This was the look of a prime minister who perhaps needed to impress upon all and sundry that he actually believed in the façade of his oft repeated “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas” slogan.

He looked all set to take the plunge to once again ride on to his much desired power pedestal, which he had acquired on two earlier occasions in 2014 and 2019.

After all, he is aspiring to go into the annals of India’s history by becoming prime minister for the third consecutive time – a feat only Jawaharlal Nehru is credited with. Whether his dream gets fulfilled will be determined on June 4, when the EVMs will unravel what is hidden in them.

His desperation to fulfil that dream has been writ large ever since he went about campaigning across the length and breadth of the country ever since the current electioneering began a month ago. It is another matter that much water has flown between the first and  fourth phases of  the seven-phase 2024 Lok Sabha election. And reports coming in from different states seem to suggest that a repeat of 2014 or 2019 could well be an uphill task for Modi .

No wonder, he has been moving heaven and earth to maintain his Hindutva identity, which he obviously considers to be his USP to garner votes – even if that feeds off of breeding hatred.

Narendra Modi on a roadshow in Varanasi on Monday. Photo: X/@narendramodi

Meanwhile, after spending the night at Varanasi’s Diesel and Locomotive Workshop (DLW) guest house, Modi began his day at 9:15, when he carried out a high-profile Ganga Arti before ‘Ma Ganga’ at the Dashwamedh Ghat , followed by a visit to the Kaal Bhairav temple and a brief cruise on the Ganga waters. He had already offered his prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple, where he concluded his spectacular roadshow on Monday evening.

INDIA bloc nominee and Congress leader Ajay Rai is contesting against Modi and this will be his third face-off with him from the soil of Varanasi. Rai, who is also president of the UP Congress, has been a five-time MLA from UP. Interestingly, he began his political innings in the BJP from which he got elected three times to the state assembly. Eventually he left the saffron camp and crossed over to the Congress as late as in 2009. He was handpicked by the Congress to take on Modi for the first time in 2014, when AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal also chose to challenge Modi in Varanasi. Rai finished third in that election.

The BJP leadership has been busy proclaiming a record victory for him this time, when they are targeting a margin of eight lakh votes. In some exclusive interviews given by him to select TV channels from a jetty on the Ganga, Modi remained at his best to display his emotional ties with Varanasi and its people. Thus if “Ma Ganga ne mujhe bulaya hai (The Ganga has called out to me)” was the buzz he created in 2014, he now raised the pitch to proclaim, “Ma Ganga has adopted me in these ten years.”

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