Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP bigwigs camp in Kashi before Phase-7 - Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP bigwigs camp in Kashi before Phase-7

May 29, 2024 07:08 AM IST

Modi is seeking a third consecutive term in Varanasi and is up against the INDIA bloc’s candidate Ajay Rai who lost to Modi from the same seat in 2014 and 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi constituency has had an array of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heavyweights making frequent visits for one final push for the crucial Lok Sabha seat, which is among the 13 going to the polls in Uttar Pradesh in the seventh and last phase of the general elections on June 1.

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal campaigning in Varanasi. (Sourced)
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal campaigning in Varanasi. (Sourced)

Modi is seeking a third consecutive term from the constituency and is up against the INDIA bloc’s candidate Ajay Rai, who lost to Modi from the same seat in the 2014 and 2019 general elections. Other contenders for the seat include BSP’s Athar Jamal Lari, Apna Dal (Kamerawadi)’s Gagan Prakash Yadav, Yug Tulsi Party’s Koli Shetty Shivkumar, and two Independents — Sanjay Kumar Tiwari and Dinesh Kumar Yadav.

With Poorvanchal going to the polls on June 1, the party has pushed key leaders to tackle particular segments in Varanasi with Union home minister Amit Shah conducting the entire electoral exercise, party president JP Nadda moving in and out of Varanasi and cabinet minister for women and child development Smriti Irani coming to the holy city on Wednesday to woo the women voters in the constituency, people familiar with the matter said.

Leading the party’s campaign, Shah stayed in Varanasi on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday and held meeting with a few top leaders of BJP Kashi region and took feedback about ongoing poll campaigning in Varanasi, said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity. NDA ally and SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar met Shah in Varanasi.

Read Here | Modi juggernaut vs INDIA bloc: Kashi poised for ‘tug of margin’

“Shah is likely to stay here till May 30,” a senior BJP leader familiar with the matter said.

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who has been camping in the city for the past two days meeting entrepreneurs and traders, said that the NDA was on course to achieving its target of crossing the 400-seat mark in the elections.

He said while Modi will win Varanasi with a record margin, the party will bag more seats in UP as compared to 2019. “The atmosphere is superbly in favour of the BJP and the NDA all over the country and there is no anti-incumbency against the Modi government,” he said.

“On Monday, BJP chief Nadda had tea at a roadside stall and interacted with workers and supporters in Varanasi. He also held a meeting with party workers and took feedback about the campaigning at the grassroots level,” Kashi region BJP spokesperson Navratan Rathi said.

Read Here: Hindutva, pro-dev, anti-mafia image make UP CM Yogi Adityanath crucial in final poll round

On Tuesday, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya participated in a programme at Jhule Lal Temple in the Laksa area of Varanasi while minister in-charge, Varanasi, and UP tourism minister Jaiveer Singh addressed a voters’ awareness programme in the city. On Monday, chief minister Yogi Adityanath held an interaction with lawyers where he hailed the central government’s developmental work. “Modi ji has also started the campaign of Nation First. On one side, there are Nation First people and on the other there are Family First people,” he said.

On May 26, external affairs minister S Jaishankar held meetings with educationists and members of the Tamil community in Varanasi. Talking about the situation on the ground, BJP worker Rajkumar Das said: “Grassroots workers like me are working with the goal of ‘abki baar 10 lakh paar’ for Modiji to ensure that he wins by a record margin of over 10 lakh votes.”

Political analyst Professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra, former dean, faculty of social science at BHU, said the BJP’s entire exercise is aimed at making Modi win Varanasi with the highest number of votes. “The mercury is rising and therefore... senior ministers and leaders are holding smaller meetings to connect with the locals to seek their support,” he said.

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