New Delhi, March 1: Electoral slugfest in Uttar Pradesh has turned into the battle of pride for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his own constituency goes on poll in the last phase of UP assembly election.
The polling for remaining 89 constituencies of 14 districts of eastern UP would conclude on March 4 and 8. Wherein, PM’s home turf, Varanasi comes out as a clear ground of battle for BJP to prove Modi’s political prowess on March 8.
The BJP’s steadfast campaign strategy for Kaashi, the religious capital of Hinduism speaks volumes about the blue litmus test saffron party is preparing itself for.
It is the first time, confirmed a BJP leader to Indian Express, that the party has set up a new media centre near Chawka Ghat in Varanasi. At least one Union minister is addressing media every day. The task assigned is to highlight “achievements” of the Modi government and BJP’s manifesto, besides attacking Samajwadi party, its governance and alliance with Congress, and warn the voter against Mayawati’s BSP.
That is not all, BJP has set up a war room at its headquarters in Kashi region of Gulab Bagh. Here party workers are canvassing social media for publicising party programmes. A protocol cell has also been formed to look after arrangements for union ministers visiting Varanasi and a separate ‘Awas Vibhag’ (housing cell) is formed to manage accommodation for visiting BJP leaders.
Just a day before a rare sight was seen on the streets of the Holy city when Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Union Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar, BJP national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav and national spokesperson Srikant Sharma all were seen savoring Khasta Kachori. Not to mention, besides campaigning the BJP leaders certainly have gathered to amass Modi’s popularity locally.
Over the past week, Senior leader of BJP including Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Kalraj Mishra, Uma Bharti, Ananth Kumar, Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Santosh Gangwar, Krishna Raj and Anupriya Patel have visited the PM’s constituency.
BJP president Amit Shah who is busy campaigning in other constituencies of UP also stayed put in Varanasi for almost a week. He spent five nights here. He was busy meeting union ministers, party leaders to brainstorm on strategies for canvassing and making every effort to pull out all eight seats.
The Sentiment is apparent as Dr Kausahl Kishore Mishra, Head, political science at Beneras Hindu University says: Modi ji’s prestige is at stake. BJP might get a majority in entire state but if it does not win this region, it will be treated as Mr Modi’s loss as UP is voting for Modi not BJP.
Prime Minister Modi would address public meetings in Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Varanasi on March 3, 4 and 5, respectively. In his constituency, the rally will be held on Varanasi-Jaunpur Road.
Shah will take out a road show in Varanasi on March 6, the last day of campaigning. As per the sources the camping in Varanasi will continue till the dawn of day.
With all the big names in the campaign prior Modi’s visit, it is evident that Bharatiya Janta Party and its senior leaders are tasked with canvassing and quelling resentment among local Party cadres to save PM’s constituency.
Dr Mishra added BJP ministers are camping here for about one week and looking after campaigning arrangements for last two phases.