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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Students, young volunteers add to campaigning blitz in Varanasi

Pawan Dixit, Hindustan Times  Varanasi, May 03, 2014
First Published: 19:32 IST(3/5/2014) | Last Updated: 01:23 IST(4/5/2014)

Since the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat has come under the election spotlight, not just political heavyweights but student leaders of various parties have made the constituency their base.

Varanasi goes to polls on May 12.

Young volunteers of AAP, students' wings of BJP and Congress have hit the lanes of Kashi and the rural pockets in the constituency to canvass for their respective affiliations.

And then there is the students' union of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) from Delhi, which is campaigning against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is contesting from Varanasi.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the right-wing students' organisation of the BJP, is the most active among them all.

Varanasi has been the BJP's stronghold since 1991. The party has won all general elections here since 1991, barring the 2004 polls.

Aman Awana, president of Delhi University Students' Union and an ABVP member, is camping in Varanasi with his core team.

A separate ABVP team led by Alok Singh, state co-secretary of the organisation and a third-year law student at BHU, is campaigning extensively in the rural pockets.

On the other hand, the JNU students' union along with a 14-member group is running the most vocal anti-Modi campaign in Varanasi.

This group is not seeking votes for any particular candidate but only attacking Modi and his Gujarat model of development. A four-page pamphlet in Hindi listing out alleged scams in Gujarat is being handed out to locals.

The AAP too has a large force of young volunteers to assist Arvind Kejriwal, who is pitted against Modi here.

The party's team of volunteers includes JNU students, IIT students, ex-employees of IT firms and other professionals.

Volunteer Prerna Prasad left her job with a Delhi-based English news channel to join AAP and is now managing AAP's media cell in Varanasi.

The AAP has also got the highest number of approvals for political meetings – 201 among the total 498 applications received by the district election office till April 30.

Meanwhile, the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students' wing of the Congress, appears to be the least active.


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