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All roads lead to Varanasi, but PM may skip last day campaign
Uttar Pradesh

All roads lead to Varanasi, but PM may skip last day campaign

Agency News

Varanasi, May 17 : All permutation-combination, political speculation and analysis lead to Varanasi, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi may skip last day campaign in his parliamentary segment here on Friday.

"There is no final word yet on whether Prime Minister will campaign in the temple city today, or he will be here on the polling day on May 19, Sunday," a BJP leader said. A party announcement in Delhi on Thursday merely said Prime Minister will address an election meeting at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh.  There is, however, no mention of his programme for Varanasi.

On April 26 during filing of his nomination papers, Prime Minister had said he may not be able to come to Varanasi for campaign. He had staged a massive roadshow on that day and exuded confidence that the people of Varanasi will yet again repose faith in him. In 2014, Mr Modi had won the seat defeating AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal by a margin of over three lakh votes.

This time Mr Modi is locked in a triangular contest against Ajay Rai of Congress and Shalini Yadav of Samajwadi Party. Mr Rai had finished third in 2014 polling only over 75000 votes. Interestingly, to talk about Varanasi electorate's choice in 2014, Ajay Rai as Congress candidate could win only 75,614 votes but in 2009 as Samajwadi Party candidate he had polled 1,23,874 votes.

"The last five years have been momentous in the history of 'Kashi'. Not only has the city given India one of its most popular prime ministers ever, but it has also witnessed the rapid development that a good MP can bring to it. Varanasi as a city has seen large scale transformation in infrastructure and it is clear that PM Narendra Modi had a key role to play in the development of the timeless city," says an article.

BJP chief Amit Shah has been himself monitoring party's electoral strategies in Varanasi and Union Ministers J P Nadda, Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani have addressed several meetings. About 10,000 BJP workers especially from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are working overtime as part of door to door campaign to woo voters.

A local BJP leader said the BJP is eyeing a victory margin of over six lakhs "As an outsider and fresher in electoral fray in 2014, Arvind Kejriwal polled over two lakh votes. We want that share to come BJP. What finally matters is the victory margin," he said. Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani also visited the temple city among others. UNI