On the final day of campaign for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Gadhwa Ghat Ashram in Varanasi on Monday before heading to Ramnagar where he paid floral tribute to former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The Prime Minister will hold a rally in predominantly rural Rohaniya constituency falling under his Lok Sabha constituency. This will be the third of electioneering by the Prime Minister here.
Forty seats spread across seven districts of Ghazipur, Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Sonbhadra and Jaunpur will go to the polls for the last phase on March 8.
Since Friday, Modi has addressed as many as three public meetings and taken out two processions in open vehicles.
The Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission that prior permission had not been sought for Friday’s “roadshow”, taken out hours before a similar show of strength by Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav.
The BJP has maintained that these were not “roadshows” but “Jan Sampark yatras” and there was no breach of model code of conduct as the PM merely waved at the cheering crowds, without uttering a word, on his way to a temple on Friday and the venue of his rally on Sunday.
Today’s rally appears strategically timed and placed as Modi will deliver his speech when less than a quarter of the day will be left before campaign comes to a close at 5pm.
Rohaniya houses Jayapur, the first village to be adopted by the PM under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
The assembly segment had come into being after the delimitation of constituencies in 2008.It has stuck out like a sore thumb for the BJP in Varanasi, which is otherwise considered a party stronghold.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Murli Manohar Joshi won the seat for the BJP though the party trailed in Rohaniya behind the candidates of Samajwadi Party, BSP and Apna Dal, one of the reasons why his victory margin remained a slim 18,000 votes.
In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP finished a distant fourth with its candidate securing a paltry 9.67 per cent of votes and forfeiting his deposit.
Wary of the tricky nature of this assembly segment, the party entered into a tie-up with Apna Dal (AD), just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.The AD enjoys a following among the Kurmis, who form a major chunk of voters here.
AD’s Anupriya Patel was the sitting MLA from the seat and she went on to win from Mirzapur in the Lok Sabha polls riding the Modi wave.
Her party, though lost Rohaniya in the ensuring by-poll as her mother Krishna was defeated by the SP candidate.