Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address four poll rallies, including three at different locations in his parliamentary constituency, in the crucial Varanasi region between March 3 and 6 for the seventh and final phase of the Uttar Pradesh election on March 8.
The Varanasi region has 40 seats spread across seven districts.
The PM will address a rally in Mirzapur on March 3 followed by election meetings at Jaunpur and Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth ground, Varanasi, on March 4. He is also scheduled to offer prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Kaal Bhairav temple in Varanas before leaving for Delhi around 8.30pm.
On March 5, he will address a rally at Townhall ground, Varanasi, and is scheduled to interact with 2,000 prominent people of Varanasi.After an overnight stay at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) guest house he will visit Garhwa Ashram on March 6, pay tributes to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and address a rally at Rohania.
The BJP is facing a tough electoral battle in the Varanasi North and Varanasi South assembly constituencies.
In Varanasi North, the party’s sitting MLA Ravindra Jaiswal is up against the SP-Congress alliance.
Similarly, Varanasi South poses a challenge to the BJP which denied the ticket to seven-time legislator Shyamdev Roy Chaudhary and gave it to Neelkanth Tiwari instead.
Though the seat is a BJP bastion, winning it may not be a cakewalk for the party this time. The BJP leaders are banking on Modi’s charisma to win over those unhappy with the party’s decision to deny a ticket to Chaudhary.
Rohania is equally important for the BJP because its alliance partner Apna Dal (S) patron Anupriya Patel won the seat in the 2012 assembly polls. She vacated the seat after she won the Mirzapur Lok Sabha seat in 2014. The SP won the seat in the by-poll.
Patel fielded an Apna Dal (S) candidate for the seat initially but withdrew the nominee when the BJP put up Surendra Narayan Singh Aundhe.
The BJP faces tough battle from SP and Apna Dal president Krishna Patel who is contesting the seat. All three are among the five assembly segments of Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
Mirzapur and Jaunpur are equally crucial for the BJP. The party drew a blank in Mirzapur in 2012. The SP won three seats, the BSP and the Congress one each.
The SP won seven out of the nine seats in Jaunpur in 2012. The Congress and the BJP bagged one seat each.
Keen on a richer haul in the region this time, the BJP has deployed many ministers to campaign here. Four ministers and several senior national leaders of the BJP are camping in Varanasi.
With the poll race nearing the finish line, the parties are getting their top guns to address rallies here.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will hold a rally at Pindra in Varanasi on Thursday. He will take out a roadshow with Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav in the temple town on March 4.