Striking an emotional chord with voters of the temple town, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described himself as a ‘Kashi-vaasi’ and sought their blessings to pave the way for his election to Lok Sabha for a second term from the seat.
Terming Kashi his guiding spirit, the prime minister said his bond with the holy city was very strong as he had come here several times in the past five years and added that it is believed that if a person comes here even once, he becomes an inseparable part of the city.
The prime minister had come here last time on April 26 to file his nomination papers. Modi held a massive roadshow during which he said that he will come to the people again to thank them once the result of the elections was out, implying that he might not come here to campaign.
In 2014, Modi won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, defeating Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal by a huge margin of 3.37 lakh votes. Modi had polled 5,16,593 votes, about half the total votes, while Congress’ Ajay Rai finished third.
Rai is the Congress candidate again this time from the constituency that goes to the polls on May 19, while the ‘gathbandhan’ has fielded an SP candidate as its joint nominee.
In a video-recorded appeal, Modi said that it was a matter of great satisfaction for him that he was in service of the city, whose presiding deity is Lord Vishwanath.
In his appeal, the prime minister mentioned the developments that have transformed Varanasi and its neighbourhood and cited the construction of highway, railway station and multi-modal terminal on river Ganga.
Modi, however, said that a lot still needs to be done, a task which, he said, he will complete together with the people so that the speed of development does not stop.
“I know that every resident of Kashi is fighting elections for and as Narendra Modi,” he said ending his appeal by asking the voters to participate in the biggest celebration of democracy in a grand manner and create a record.
Varanasi votes on May 19 in the last round of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polling, which began on April 11.
The Correspondent Bureau with inputs from agencies