On 14 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while calling himself a “Kashi vaasi”, issued an emotional message for the people of Varanasi — his Lok Sabha constituency. He underscored his association and attachment with the ancient city and urged people to vote in large numbers.
The next day, he held a roadshow in Varanasi, where massive crowds gathered on the sides of the roads, wherever his cavalcade passed. The scene was reminiscent of a similar procession Modi led in 2014 as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
One look at the crowd, and it was crystal clear that Modi was Varanasi’s choice. And, sure enough, in the 2014 parliamentary polls he won the seat by a margin of 3,71,785, securing more than 56 percent of the total votes polled.
In this Lok Sabha election, he is all set to register a similar victory, as the prime minister was ahead of his nearest rival, Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Shalini Singh, by 1, 94,086 votes, according to the latest figures.
It is interesting that Rahul Gandhi, chief of the BJP’s principal Opposition party, the Congress, who was projected as the main challenger to Modi, chose to contest from two seats: Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala.
On the other hand, Modi fought the 2014 polls from two seats – Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Vadodara in his home state Gujarat (from where he won with a margin of around six lakh votes). This time, he picked Varanasi as the lone constituency to represent in Parliament, and the decision struck an emotional chord with people of the holy city.