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Ever since Gujarat CM Narendra Modi was announced the BJP’s PM candidate, he has been campaigning tirelessly to fulfil his party’s Mission 272+ for 16th Lok Sabha elections.
But with most of the constituencies having already gone to the polls in seven of the nine-phase elections, which began on April 7, Modi now shifts his focus to the most crucial part of his journey —eastern Uttar Pradesh.
It’s doubly important for him, as he himself will contest from Varanasi —the epicentre of political activities in the region this time —in the last phase on May 12.
Modi’s campaign managers chalked out the schedule for his rallies till the moment campaigning comes to an end on May 10 for the last phase, also covering the constituencies of his political rivals, Rahul Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The venues for Modi rallies have been selected in such a way that they have impact on the entire eastern UP, touching every important location in the region, including the Durga temple at Vindyachal in Mirzapur district.
The ‘Battle for Purvanchal’, coined by Modi’s closest political aid, Amit Shah, begins with the BJP’s PM candidate’s rallies in Bhadohi and Allahabad on May 5. Bhadohi district, which was once part of Varanasi, is hardly 50 km away.
From Bhadohi, his next stop will be Jaunpur. The same day, he will address another rally in the adjoining parliamentary constituencies of Machhlishahr and Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi.
He is probably the first opposition heavyweight to campaign in the Gandhis’ pocket borough.
After taking Rahul Gandhi head on, Modi plans to address a rally in Azamgarh on May 8, the parliamentary constituency from where Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting. Yadav is also contesting from his traditional seat, Mainpuri.
A devotee of Goddess Durga, Modi always wanted to visit the Vindhyachal temple in Mirzapur district. Even before he filed his nomination papers, Modi’s Mirzapur visit was fixed several times, but had to be postponed at the last moment.
But on May 9, before addressing a rally in Mirzapur for alliance partner Apna Dal on May 9, Modi will visit the famous Hindu shrine. The same day, his next rally is scheduled in the Maoist belt of Chandauli.
From May 5 till the campaigning for the 15 seats of the fifth phase of polling in UP comes to an end, Varanasi will turn into his epicentre for the ‘Battle for Purvanchal’.
With Varanasi as his base, Modi will fly in and out in all directions in eastern UP to address rallies and return to his base for night stay.