Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday filed his nomination papers from the Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency in his home state saying he is grateful to his party for nominating him from the city.
BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi addressing an election rally in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(HT photo/Ajay Aggarwal)
Wearing a saffron jacket Modi waved to thousands of cheering supporters on his way to the office of the collector to file his papers to stand in the country's mammoth six-week election which entered its second of nine phases on Wednesday.
Read: BJP aims for 'world-record' victory margin for Modi in Vadodara
Making a rare public outing in a jeep, Modi waved at the sea of crowd with the BJP's saffron-coloured flag, which is forecast to inflict a crushing defeat on the ruling Congress party.
Modi submitted his papers at 11.28am before the returning officer of Vadodara.
"I had started my political career in Saurashtra and I am now in this region again," Modi said after filing his nomination.
He thanked the erstwhile royal family of Vadodara saying he was born in the Gaikwad state and studied in a school funded by them.
Read: Congress fields Ajay Rai against Modi, Kejriwal from Varanasi
"The idea of governance from the Gaikwad family is still an inspiration for us. I am thankful to the BJP for nominating me from here. Vadodara has been my karmabhoomi," he told reporters.
"I am confident that people of Vadodara will celebrate this festival of democracy and vote for the BJP in huge numbers," he said.
Playing on his tea vendor background, the BJP's Vadodara unit chose 49-year-old tea vendor, Kiran Mahida, as one of the four proposers for Modi's name.
The other three were Rajmata Shubhangini Raje Gaekwad, former state party president late Makrand Desai's wife Neela Desai, and BJP's first city president Bhupendra Patel.
He was accompanied by several of his cabinet ministers as well as senior BJP leaders. This was Modi's first visit to Vadodara after selecting it as his second seat.
Earlier, after arriving at Vadodara some 30 minutes behind schedule, Modi reached Kirti Stambh at Raopura from where he took part in two-km road show christened as Vijay Vikas Yatra.
Read: Modinomics, Modified, Modiyapa and now Modifesto
At least 1,000 policemen were deployed along the route to maintain a strict watch on the rally.
The rally, after passing through Nyaya Mandir in Jubilee Park reached the collectorate at 11.25am.
Thousands of slogan shouting BJP supporters in saffron Gandhi caps and Modi masks holding large cut-outs of the BJP's lotus symbol and party flags thronged the city streets to catch a glimpse of the party's prime ministerial candidate.
In Vadodara, Modi is up against Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry and Aam Aadmi Party's Sunil Kulkarni.
Mistry, who is the All India Congress Committee general secretary and a close aide of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, had filed his nomination papers on April 5.
He is also contesting the general elections from the Varanasi seat in Uttar Pradesh, where he is pitted against Congress' Ajai Rai and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal.
Gujarat will go to polls on April 30.
After filing his nomination, Modi will leave for the party's election campaign in Maharashtra.
Full coverage: My India my vote