VARANASI, Apr 25: Waves of massive crowd lustily cheered Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this holy city as he began his 7-km long road-show here on Thursday, a day before filing his nomination for the second time to seek re-election to the 17th Lok Sabha.
Braving hot weather, a sea of people turned up to welcome Mr. Modi in this temple town as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used the occasion to put up a show of strength in the Prime Minister’s parliamentary constituency in the heart of Uttar Pradesh, the key State from where the party had reaped a rich harvest of Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections.
Donning a saffron kurta and scarf, the Prime Minister was seen waving to the enthusiastic crowd which wanted to catch a glimpse of their star candidate. He began the roadshow from the iconic Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where he paid homage at a statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, a freedom fighter and founder of BHU.
The Prime Minister’s roadshow is passing through a number of temples and ghats before culminating at the Dashashwamedh ghat on the banks of holy Ganga. Mr. Modi will also attend the evening aarti at the ghat.
The entire top brass of the BJP, including party president Amit Shah, several Union Ministers and Chief Ministers, accompanied Mr Modi as the cavalcade meandered its way through the lanes of the ancient city. People from their rooftops and terraces greeted and waved at Mr Modi and some were also seen showering flowers and rose petals on him.
The main opposition party Congress has fielded Ajay Rai to contest against Mr Modi, ending days of speculation about the possible candidature of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Varanasi.