Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his election campaign in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi by embarking on a roadshow from the gate of BHU on Saturday.
He addressed two election rallies at Jaunpur and Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth.
Apart from PM Modi’s campaign, the crucial Varanasi region also saw high-profile rallies by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday.
Security was beefed up in the city and officials of the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) will remain camped in the city to ensure Modi’s protection. The Prime Minister is scheduled to campaign on Sunday.
The region has 40 seats spread across seven districts and BJP is facing a tough electoral battle in the Varanasi North and Varanasi South assembly constituencies.
The crucial Varanasi region will go to polls in the seventh and final phase of the Uttar Pradesh election on March 8.
Here are the updates:
Modi addressed a crowd at Varanasi’s townhall
8:42pm: The election result is decided; we will form the government. But the focus must be on the republic. Our strength will be the republic
8:41pm: I will be here tomorrow and spend time with party workers, those of them who have toiled here
8:40pm: We have tried to reduce pollution in small measures such as e-rickshaws and e-boats
8:38pm: The governments that are on the banks of Ganga, need to take action against those polluting it
8:36pm: The Centre gives money to the UP state government, but they do not spend it nor account for it. Should they not give us a tally paise by paise of how that money is being spent?
8:30pm: The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has cut down your medical expenses, reducing the cost of 800 medicines. Now, you spend only Rs 700
8:28pm: Have allotted Rs 500 crore for solid waste management
8:27pm: Due to our push for LED bulbs, Rs 11,000 crore has been saved
8:25pm: Whether one believes in God or not, that power exists. (Which is why) When they visited the temple today, there was a power outage. Didn’t God show his power then? The (SP) government is lying about 24x7 electricity supply
8:20pm: We will ensure 24 hours of continuous electricity supply. I don’t need to swear by the Ganga river; it will be done
8:19pm: Since Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time, there has been talk of a ring road. Finally, we got it done. Can you see it? Akhilesh Yadav can’t see it.
8:16pm: Kashi is not just a city, it is a symbol of humanity. Our effort is to build an ‘Uttam Kashi’
8:15pm: We need to preserve Kashi’s spirit, but also transform it. It must have heritage, and also WiFi
8:14pm: This place has ‘Ma Ganga’, it has historic relevance, and is attached to many living things. But for us, this spirit of Kashi is most important
8:13pm: When I was in Boston, I was showed a lane and told this Boston’s Kashi. Hearing that made me so proud
8:05pm: All of you work very hard. It is then my duty to work just as hard, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you
8pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts addressing another rally in Varanasi
Modi begins addressing a rally at Varanasi’s townhall
7:20pm: The Yadavs and Rahul Gandhi offer prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple
6:55pm: UP CM Akhilesh Yadav with wife Dimple arrive at Kashi Vishwanath temple
6:20pm: Deputy election commissioner Vijay Dev says he has received a complaint from the Congress against the BJP claiming they didn’t have the required permits for the roadshow in Varanasi, ANI reported. The Congress wants FIRs to be registered against the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dev says the commission will ascertain the facts: ANI
6pm: Supporters chant ‘Jai Akhilesh’ as they wait to see the SP leader pass
5:49pm: SP-Congress cavalcade reaches Pili Kothi area. Raj Babbar is seen accompanying Akhilesh and Dimple Yadav, and Rahul Gandhi
5:15pm: Congress workers with party flags try to crowd near PM Modi’s rally venue in Maidagin. Rahul and Akhilesh are expected to pass by too in some time
5pm: Supporters continue to throng the streets to see the leaders pass by
4:35pm: Stone pelting takes place near Chauka Ghat as SP-Congress roadshow passes. Police step in and control the situation.
4:35pm: Akhilesh’s wife, Dimple Yadav, joins him and Rahul Gandhi’s roadshow in Varanasi
4:20pm: The SP-Congress cavalcade reaches Alaipura
4:15pm: Rahul and Akhilesh are showered with flowers and are greeted by supporters lining the road
4pm: UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tour the streets of Varanasi
PM Modi addresses a rally in Jaunpur
4:02pm: Modi concludes his speech, saying, “Bharat Mat ki Jai”
4:01pm: Akhilesh keeps talking about the Lucknow-Agra expressway. I tell him, why don’t seat your new friend (Rahul Gandhi) on your cycle and travel the distance between villages. Will he be able to?
4pm: Those who have robbed from the country must pay back. We will not rest until then
3:58pm: We will teach all ‘bahubalis’ (heavyweights) to fall in line and shape up the police system
3:57pm: This is why UP’s law and order is important for us. Over here, jail has also become a palace for ‘bahubalis’
3:55pm: When people do good, they say Gayatri mantra. But the SP-Cong alliance say Gayatri Prajapati mantri, Modi says referring to the state minister accused of rape
3:54pm: Are the sisters and daughters of UP safe? Who is responsible for this (state of affairs)?
3:53pm: We promise to fix your problems if you gift us an electoral win on March 11
3:52pm: We have given money, but it is just sitting there. The state government isn’t spending it on Jaunpur
3:51pm: Do you have electricity for 24 hours? The Centre has given money to afford electricity, but here in Jaunpur there is no electricity
3:50pm: Give us such a victory, give me such a gift that nobody can stake claim to UP. After five years, you can ask me what I have done for the state, and I will show you what I have done
3:49pm: I want the blessings of UP’s people
3:47pm: Poor mothers have been given freedom from the wood-fire stove
3:46pm: I have seen poverty. I was born in poverty. I was raised in poverty. So I decided for these poor mothers who struggle over the wooden stove, I would give these 5 crore people gas cylinders and connections
3:45pm: 150 villages in UP were in the darkness in the years since independence. We brought electricity to these villages
3:42pm: For 40 years our forces demanded One Rank and One Pension, but nothing happened. BJP govt delivered this
3:40pm: I’d like to ask the government which says work will speak for itself: Will work speak for them or will their scandals? says Modi
3:39pm: We implemented One Rank One Pension, Modi tells the crowd
3:38pm: The old government cheated the people with regards to One Rank One Pension, says Modi
3:37pm: Modi attempts to quieten the crowd. Says, “Bharat Mata ki Jai.”
3:33pm: I tell leaders immersed in politics, go to Jaunpur and meet the parents of those ‘shaheed’
3:30pm: Modi pauses as crowds cheer to a media camera covering the audience
3:26pm: For the safety of ‘Ma Bharathi’, even today people of Jaunpur are sacrificing their lives, says Modi
BSP chief Mayawati addresses a rally in Varanasi:
• In both roadshows of BJP and SP-Congress, most of the crowd are onlookers, says Mayawati in Varanasi.
• In the sixth phase too, BSP is getting a heavy flow of votes. I’m confident that the voters in the seventh phase of UP election won’t shy away to support us. BSP is going to create a government in UP with majority.
• Mayawati targets BJP, says Narendra Modi’s party does not even have a chief ministerial candidate.
• The voters have to decide which party they will vote for -- corrupt Congress or a party like BSP that has maintained crime and law and order situation in the state?: Modi
Akhilesh Yadav’s address:
• Akhilesh Yadav addresses a rally in Varanasi. He says SP will form the next government in Uttar Pradesh.
PM Modi’s road show
2:20pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs ‘aarti’ at Kashi Vishvanath Temple. The PM will next leave for BHU helipad from where he will head to Jaunpur to address an election rally.
2:08pm: The roadshow which commenced from BHU gate at around 10: 50 am concluded at Bhairo Naath chauraha, in Maidagini area.
2:03pm: Modi reaches Lord Kaal Bhairava temple where he offers prayer to Lord Kaal Bhairava, also called Kashi Ke Kotwal.
1:45pm: Modi reaches Maidagini.
In Bulanala , Akhilesh Yadav supporters shouted slogan “Akhilesh tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai,” as PM Modi’s cavalcade passed through the area.
1:20pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi stops to offer prayers at the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi.
12:50pm: Modi reaches famous Dashashwamedh chowk. Large number of people seen on the streets when the rally passed through Muslim-dominated areas Sonarpua and Madanputa.
12:40pm: A very huge turn out of crowd on Kashi road.
12:35pm: Modi passing through Madanpur, an area largely dominated by Muslim population.
12:15pm: Congress- Samajwadi party supporters show up and wave their party flags at Bhadaini. They shouted slogans on Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi, Modi supporters responded with louder chants.
12 noon: Roadshow passes through narrow lane Assi area. Some foreigners are spotted in the crowd.
11:45am: The people of Varanasi gives a rousing welcome to Modi. His car is almost bathed in petals.
11:30am: Modi gives back garland to the crowd as he enters Assi area.
11:25am: The 5-kms long roadshow continues with supporters cheering ‘Modi Modi’ as the roadshow proceeds towards Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
11:20am: As Modi’s car continues to ride through the streets of Varanasi, locals shower flowers at him. BJP supporters flood the streets of the Varanasi.
10:55am: Huge crowd gather on the streets to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister. People seen on both sides of the road, some are standing on balconies and rooftops of buildings. At Ravidas Gate, the point from where the roadshow began, supporters raise slogans shouting ‘Har har Modi, Ghar ghar Modi’.
PM Narendra Modi's roadshow underway in Varanasi, supporters raise slogans 'Har har Modi, Ghar ghar Modi' pic.twitter.com/n8YwQYepPi— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 4, 2017
10:50am: PM Narendra modi began his roadshow from Ravidas Lanka gate, Varanasi.
Travelling in an SUV, the roadshow will cover a distance of 5 kms and pass through Assi, Shivala, Sonarpura, Madanpura, Godowlia, Baansfatak Chowk and conclude at Gyanvapi.
10:35am: Narendra Modi will garland Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya’s statue in Varanasi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to garland Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya's statue in Varanasi. pic.twitter.com/z1vQR1QZdS— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 4, 2017
10am: PM Narendra Modi arrives at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
PM Narendra Modi arrives at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi pic.twitter.com/uUhQZsYD9s— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 4, 2017