Varanasi ready for a grand finale to Lok Sabha polls

Varanasi (UP), May 30 (IANS) The Ganga River is calm and the iconic Dasaswamedh Ghat is quiet too. However, street corners are still buzzing with activity as the campaign folds up on Thursday in one of the most prestigious Lok Sabha seats in the county — Varanasi.

As dozen odd ministers and supporters from across other states, prepare to leave Varanasi when campaigning ends on Thursday evening, the main contestant Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be thousands of miles away in Kanyakumari where he will undertake a three-day meditation.

The street corners and small kiosks are buzzing with activity as tourists gather to discuss the Prime Minister’s victory margin — the outcome of the elections is not even debated upon — and local people indulge in small talk.

The poll juggernaut in UP will reach a grand finale on June 1 when Varanasi votes along with 13 other constituencies.

There is no dearth of walkers even after midnight. Many from places like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are here to queue up for the Mangla Aarti, the first aarti of Lord Shiva that starts around 2.30 am.

The BJP, meanwhile, has shifted its focus to improving the tally of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In 2019, the PM had a comfortable victory by a margin of around 4.79 lakh votes. He secured 6.74 lakh votes which were around 63 per cent of the total votes polled.

Ajay Rai of Congress had garnered 1.52 lakh votes.

This time, Ajay Rai of the Congress is the INDIA bloc candidate while Athar Jamal Lari is contesting on a BSP ticket.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a massive roadshow here on May 13 — a day before he filed his nomination papers. He was lustily cheered by crowds that thronged the route.

Thereafter, to promote a feeling of belongingness, the party focused on personalising the election campaign.

As part of the strategy, BJP functionaries visited a total of 2,000 odd intellectuals, awardees of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and celebrities from Varanasi and handed them a personal letter from the Prime Minister urging them to vote and encourage others to do so.

The BJP is also handing over personalised letters to first-time voters of Varanasi. Out of the total 1.26 lakh identified voters, around 90,000 have been chosen for personalised letters.

“The idea behind this exercise is to ensure at least 60 per cent voting this time so that the victory margin of the PM crosses at least 5 lakh mark,” a BJP functionary said.

The increased participation of women voters in the BJP campaign is a sign of the Prime Minister’s soaring popularity.

Women are volunteering to make ‘rangoli’ at polling centres and are decorating the polling venues with balloons and buntings.

“This Kashi is completely ‘Modified’ — both, literally as well as otherwise. The transformation of the heritage city in the past 10 years has been remarkable. Modi does not even need to come here to campaign. It is the people who will record a historic win,” says Pandit Sandip Acharya, a local priest.



Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Man carried Aerodrome Entry permit ID of MP, say Customs on Tharoor’s aide smuggling case

Next Post

Fourteen Hong Kong activists convicted under national security law

Read next
Whatsapp Join