Modi files nomination in Varanasi, invokes “Maa Ganga”
Propelled by a sea of saffron on the streets, Narendra Modi on Thursday filed his nomination for Lok Sabha election from this temple town invoking “Maa Ganga” seeking to galvanise support in the Hindi heartland in his bid to steer BJP to power.
Before filing the nomination from Varanasi, the second seat he is contesting besides Vadodara in Gujarat, BJP’s prime ministerial nominee literally took this ancient spiritual centre on the banks of Ganges by storm.
Chanting “Modi, Modi, Modi”, tens of thousands of activists of the sangh parivar accompanied the 63-year-old on a three-hour long road show that wound through the streets of Varanasi in the blistering heat.
“After coming here, I felt nobody has sent me nor have I come here. I am here because Maa Ganga has called me. I feel like a small child on mothers lap. I pray to God to give me the strength so that I can serve this city,” said Modi after the three-hour-long road show.
Flanked by party leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Amit Shah and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Modi filed his nomination papers before the District Collector but had to wait for around 20 minutes as an Independent was submitting his papers.
His close aide and ‘Man Friday’ Amit Shah, who has been organising party campaign in UP for the last several months, immediately claimed that the road show has proved that the ‘Modi wave’ has turned into a ‘tsunami’.
“The large crowd at Varanasi has reflected that the Modi wave in Uttar Pradesh has turned into a tsunami. The defeat of Congress, SP and BSP is certain in Uttar Pradesh. The impact of the support will be felt in Bihar and other neighbouring states,” Shah told reporters.
Modi’s road show was telecast non-stop by news channels as 117 constituencies went to polls in 11 states and Puducherry, provoking Congress to complain foul.
It lodged a complaint with the Election Commission seeking filing of an FIR against Modi and other BJP leaders for “serious model code violation” and provisions of the election law through live television coverage.
Modi later tweeted, “I am emotionally touched & moved to see the enthusiasm& hardwork of our Karyakartas. We are very proud of you all.
“My coming to Varanasi is like a child going to his Mother. I have come to this divine land on the call of Ganga Mata.
“Thank you Varanasi. No words will describe the affection you have showered today. Truly touched,” said in tweets in which he also thanked the policemen and security forces who were there for the roadshow and nomination process.
Unveiling a road map for development of Varanasi, Modi wrote on his website that he envisioned the town as a world heritage site to draw both devotees and those who wished to understand and absorb India’s culture.
He said he has plans to clean up the town as well as the river Ganges, besides the uplift of the tourism sector and the welfare of weavers.
Blowing of conch shells rent the air and rose petals were showered, as Modi, riding atop an open truck, waved to cheering people along the three-km route from Lahurabeer to Kacheri.
Donning Modi T-shirts, masks and holding BJP flags, people lined up the arterial roads and occupied balconies and rooftops to have glimpse of a man they may be electing as PM.
As the convoy made its way through Muslim-dominated Nadesar, several people from the minority community also greeted the BJP leader who faces challenge from by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Ajai Rai, a local MLA, besides others.
Thanking people for showering love and affection on him, Modi said he will try to make Varanasi the spiritual capital of the world and would make sincere efforts to ensure well being of all section of the society including the weavers.
“I am overwhelmed by support and love of people here.”