The BJP on Thursday launched an all-out war on the Election Commission, accusing it of working "under pressure" and showing bias against him and took out a roadshow defying prohibitory orders over the denial of permission for him to hold a rally here.
Capping an acrimonious day, Modi landed at the Banaras Hindu University campus helipad, near the venue of the party protests, and held an undeclared 5 km roadshow to the main BJP election office in Sigra, where a large number police and Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed.
Read: BJP denied permission for Modi rally in Varanasi; party leaders to sit on dharna today
BJP leader Arun Jaitley with party leaders Amit Shah and Laxmikant Bajpai addresses a press conference in Varanasi. (PTI photo)
The BJP-EC spat ensued after the Varanasi district administration refused permission for a rally by the BJP's PM nominee Modi in Varanasi's Beniyabagh area, which has a sizeable Muslim population.
Varanasi has arguably turned into the most high-profile constituency in this elections after the BJP named Modi as its candidate.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal is challenging Modi and Congress nominee Ajay Rai in the constituency which goes to the polls in the last phase on May 12.
Right from the morning, the BJP brass, including Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah, attacked the Commission by holding protests outside the Banaras Hindu University and near the Commission's headquarters in Delhi demanding the removal of Pranjal Yadav, Varanasi returning officer for his "partisan approach".
"It is unfortunate that the EC is not concerned about the institution's neutrality. That is why our 'karyakartas' (workers) have to embark on a satyagraha," he wrote on Twitter before embarking on a day-long campaigning in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
He continued his criticism of the EC in the meetings.
Read: BJP workers protest in Varanasi over EC decision
Addressing a rally on the outskirts of Varanasi, he escalated his attack saying the Commission was working "under pressure" but did not elaborate.
Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi at BHU campus in Varanasi. (HT photo)
In his previous rallies of the day at Azamgarh and Chandauli, Modi dropped enough hints that he was planning to take on the constitutional body.
"The EC says that there was a threat to me in Beniyabagh. I have been addressing public meetings across the country, but there was no security threat," Modi said.
Modi quoted home minister Sushilkumar Shinde as saying recently "that there was no threat to me, a view echoed five days back by finance minister P Chidambaram as well".
The Gujarat chief minister took on the poll panel head-on, saying,
"Let the EC do as many unlawful things as it wants to. Let it stop me from holding a rally. Let it try and stop me from speaking but let me make it clear that irrespective of what it says or does apparently at the behest of powers that be, Modi can't be stopped now."
In fact, even before he arrived for his rally and road show, Modi, who had tweeted his displeasure at not being able to visit the traditional Ganga aarti on the Kashi ghats, said, "Mother Ganga would forgive me for not being able to visit her."
Read: Jaitley hits out at EC again; calls it timid
Mocking the EC, he also said attempts were being made to thwart him after 'maa-beta,behan' (referring to Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka) and 'baap-beta' (father son duo of Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav) had failed to stop him.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley Thursday said that polls should not be conducted in the country if security cannot be ensured.
"By condoning the returning officer's stand in Varanasi city, the Election Commission has used the security card to prevent Narendra Modi's right to campaign in his constituency. If you can't ensure security, don't hold the polls in the country," Jaitley wrote in his blog.
BJP-TMC workers clash
A scuffle broke out between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in front of Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
The incident took place when Trinamool Congress candidate Indira Tiwari was canvassing in the area and reached the BHU main gate, where BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah and BJP workers were staging a protest, police sources said.
When Tiwari was passing from through the crowd where
dharna was going on, some BJP supporters handed her party pamphlets, which she tore, enraging them.
This was followed by heated arguments between BJP supporters and TMC candidate and her supporters leading to a scuffle.
TMC workers alleged that they and Indira were assaulted by BJP supporters.
Read: Rahul Gandhi will campaign in Varanasi, hold roadshow on May 10
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