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Modi files election nomination from Varanasi, recalls ‘amazing’ ties with holy city

The Indian PM will contest from the city in Uttar Pradesh for the third time this year, after having won by huge margins in 2014 and 2019.

Indian PM Narendra Modi, accompanied by renowned astrology and Vedic scholar Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid, files his nomination papers for the upcoming general elections in Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (14) filed nomination for the ongoing national elections from his constituency of Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Modi, who is a two-time MP from the holy city, held a massive roadshow covering six kilometres on the eve of filing his nomination and was accompanied by a number of top leaders from his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some ally parties.

On Tuesday, the PM offered prayers at Varanasi’s iconic Dashashwamedh Ghat on the banks of the River Ganges and paid a visit to the Kaal Bhairav Temple. He was accompanied by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, who was also present during the road show on Monday (13).

Before visiting the temple, Modi said, “My relationship with my Kashi is amazing, inseparable, and incomparable… it cannot be expressed in words!”

His party also shared a video in which he spoke about his relationship with the river, considered sacred by the Hindu community.

“This relationship is not just that of a people’s representative. It is a spiritual one and I cannot describe it in words,” he said.

Read: Modi holds massive road show in Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency

“When I went to Kashi (as Varanasi is also known by) in 2014, I felt I was invited to the city by Ma Ganga (River Ganges).

“However, today, after 10 years of my visit to Kashi, I can say ‘Aaj Ma Ganga ne mujhe god le liya hai’ (today Ma Ganga has adopted me),” he said in the video.

Read: Modi votes in his home state of Gujarat

“Ten years have passed, and my bond with Kashi has only grown stronger, and I now refer to it as ‘my Kashi’. I feel a mother-son relationship with Kashi.”

After filing his nomination, the PM said in a post on X in Hindi, “My heartfelt gratitude to my family members in Kashi! I am very excited to file my nomination from Varanasi for the third consecutive time. The amazing love and blessings I have received from all of you in the last 10 years have inspired me to work with a constant spirit of service and full determination. With your full support and participation, I will continue to work with new energy and power for the all-round development of this place and the welfare of the people in my third term as well. Hail Baba Vishwanath!”

In another post, he said, “Filed my nomination papers as a candidate for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. It is an honour to serve the people of this historic seat. With the blessings of the people, there have been remarkable achievements over the last decade. This pace of work will get even faster in the times to come.”

Modi, who won by massive margins from Varanasi in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, went to the city’s Rudraksh Convention Centre and spoke with his party’s workers after filing the nomination.

Varanasi will go to the polls on June 1, when the seventh and final phase of the election will be held. The results will be announced three days later, on June 4.

Modi, however, cast his ballot in Gandhinagar in his home state of Gujarat during the third phase of the election on May 7.
On Monday, the PM said after the roadshow, “The love and blessings my family members of Kashi showed during the road show became an unforgettable moment in my life.”

Varanasi has traditionally been a bastion for the BJP which has won it eight times since the 1991 elections. The opposition Indian National Congress could win it only once in between and it was in 2004.

Hindus make up around 75 per cent of the city’s demographic while Muslims make up 20 per cent.

Ajay Rai, the chief of the Congress’s Uttar Pradesh chapter, is contesting against Modi in Varanasi, like he did in the 2014 and 2019 elections and finished third on both occasions.

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