On a whirlwind day in his Lok Sabha constituency to rally voters around the BJP in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a road show, offered prayers at two historic temples and paid tributes to Hindutva ideologue Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya on Saturday.
His road show was scheduled on a day when 49 constituencies went to the polls in the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. BJP leaders believe that the hours-long event, broadcast live on most of the regional TV news channels, will help their cause when the 40 remaining seats go to the polls in the final phase on March 8.
The road show started from the Banaras Hindu University after Modi paid tributes to the statue of Malviya. People turned out in large numbers as the prime minister's cavalcade moved at a snail's pace. 'Subah Banaras, sham Banaras; Modi tere naam Banaras' and 'Modi, Modi' slogans were raised by the supporters as he waved at them.
Modi later offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples, two foremost Hindu holy places in the ancient city. The BJP, which is locked in a tight electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh with the SP-Congress alliance and the Mayawati-led BSP, hopes that a good performance in the eastern parts of the state will take it past the majority mark in the 403-member state Assembly.
बाबा विश्वनाथ के दर्शन करने का सौभाग्य प्राप्त हुआ। हर हर महादेव! pic.twitter.com/xmSo7VVaH1— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 4, 2017
The only other time Modi held a road show here was in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after he picked Varanasi as one of his seats. The BJP swept the 2014 polls in Uttar Pradesh, winning 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats, along with its ally Apna Dal. Three years later, the saffron camp is once again relying heavily on Modi to deliver the goods in Uttar Pradesh where it has been out of power for 15 years.
It has organised many more public meetings of the prime minister than was anticipated earlier. Quite a few public events of Modi are lined up in the region tomorrow and the day after, the final day of campaigning for the seventh and last phase of polling on March 8. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also organised a road-show in the city. BSP chief Mayawati too addressed a public rally at Rohaniya, around 20 km from Varanasi.
Unforgettable moments in Kashi. It is always special being here. My gratitude to the people for the affection. Truly humbled. pic.twitter.com/Ehpn4Dl5AI— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 4, 2017
Meanwhile, Congress alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had violated the model code of conduct by holding a road show in Varanasi without permission of poll authorities and asked the Election Commission to take action against the Prime Minister and other senior BJP leaders.
In a letter to the EC, the Congress alleged that Modi took out the road show in Varanasi from BHU (Banaras Hindu University) "without the necessary permission from the competent authority". "It is requested that action may be taken and FIR registered against all BJP leaders including Narendra Modi who were part of the road show," said K C Mittal, AICC secretary incharge of legal and human rights cell.
(Feature image source: Twitter| Narendra Modi)