The blaring cacophony of political rallies and road shows that had taken over Banaras region for the last three days came to a grinding halt at 5pm on Monday. Political ‘sovereigns’ and their ‘generals’ had their say and now it was in the hands of their ‘masters’ (common man) to decide their fate on March 8, the last phase of assembly elections.
Banaras witnessed high pitch campaigning in the last leg with all political bigwigs including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah, BSP chief Mayawati and a host of Union ministers addressing rallies in favour of their party candidates across the region.
For instance, in the last three days — March 4, 5 and 6, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extensively campaigned in Varanasi. He addressed three election rallies and led two road shows that covered three assembly constituencies— Varanasi North, Varanasi South and Cantonment in his parliamentary constituency.
Modi concluded the poll campaign after addressing a poll rally in Khusipur area of Rohania on Monday. Besides Modi, his ministers including home minister Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda, Manoj Sinha, Kalraj Mishra among others campaigned in Varanasi and surrounding areas—Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, Chandauli and Sonbhadra.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his alliance partner Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also held a joint road show in Varanasi and addressed an election rally at Girijaghar intersection here on March 4. He also addressed an election rally in Rohania on Saturday. The show received a huge response.
Not to be left behind, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati also addressed a rally in Rohania where she took a dig at the PM. ”Modi chahe jitni puja kar le, jeet to BSP ki hi hogi. (Modi can worship as much as he wants, only the BSP will win.),” she said.
Meanwhile, addressing poll rallies in Sonbhadra, Jaunpur, and Ghazipur, BJP president Amit Shah said gundaraj in the state would come to an end on March 11.
Similarly, Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav addressed poll rallies in Bhadohi and Chandauli where she flayed the BJP-led Union government of telling lies and fudging growth index figures. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav addressed seven poll rallies in Jaunpur. He sought an account of development works carried out by the Centre in the last three years. Rahul, who was in Jaunpur, said the PM was upset over the SP-Congress alliance.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui campaigned in Jaunpur. After whirlwind tours, the leaders concluded their poll campaigns from Banaras region.
The region is crucial for the BJP, SP and BSP equally. It is important for the BJP as three union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Union HRD Minister Dr Mahendra Nath Padey and Manoj Sinha belong to it. Sinha belongs to Ghazipur while both Rajnath Singh and Pandey belong to Chandauli. They camped in Varanasi and campaigned extensively.
The region has 40 seats, including Varanasi (8), Jaunpur (9), Ghazipur (7), Mirzapur (5), Bhadohi (3), Sonbhadra (4) and Chandauli (4). Ghazipur and Jaunpur are strongholds of the Samajwadi party. In the 2012 assembly election, the ruling party won six out seven seats in Ghazipur and seven out of nine seats in Jaunpur. It won two seats in Banaras, three out of four seats in Sonbhadra, three each in Bhadohi and Mirzapur and two in Chandauli.
Political analyst Kaushal Kishore Mishra, professor political science department, BHU, said, “This time the scenario is different. In 2012, there was no Modi factor and demonetization. The two factors together are very crucial here. People are talking about them. So, there will be startling results.”