Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav signed off Samajwadi Party's election campaign with an impressive road-show in this temple town from where BJP has fielded its PM hopeful Narendra Modi.
Yadav, who played a key role in the party's win in the 2012 assembly polls by rallying the youth, attracted them to his road-show. Many donned skullcaps.
Brushing aside security concerns, Yadav waved and shook hands with his supporters along the route. He appeared buoyed by the support his show received as the party's theme songs — 'Ye Samajwadi Jhanda' and 'Mann se hai Mulayam' — played in the background throughout.
As the vehicles moved, locals showered flower petals on Yadav, party candidate Kailash Chaurasia and senior minister Rajendra Chowdhary. The chief minister was also presented with mementos — a mace, party symbol cycle, a bouquet and a replica of Kashi Vishwanath temple — on the way to Girjaghar crossing.
Just ahead of Lahurabir crossing, a group of students displayed laptops received under the CM's pet project. Throughout the route, huge party hoardings reminded the people that the party's laptop scheme had several beneficiaries from Varanasi.
After covering the four-kilometre stretch from Maldahiya to Girijaghar crossing in nearly three hours, Yadav said Modi was a 'model of dividing India' and trashed his Gujarat model of development. He also targeted BSP chief Mayawati. "When she objected to my calling her buaji, I decided to call her phuaji," he asked.