Polling day tales: Varanasi is glad it's over finally
Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, who has extensively covered Election 2014, reports from Varanasi on voting day
Varanasi is glad that the election chaos in the holy city will end on Monday
Several residents say that life had almost come to a standstill, considering the interest generated by the high profile candidates contesting from the seat.
Police patrolling, flying squads roaming the streets with blaring sirens and a plethora of rallies had caused a great deal of disturbance, residents say.
But going by the way the voters have been lining up to vote on Monday gives the impression that the electioneering did manage to stir up interest among the people.
Inspector General of Police, Varanasi, D Prakash told rediff.com that the big part of the task was, thankfully, over.
“We did have ample support from other forces. But what we found hardest to manage was the traffic. This city has not seen such traffic chaos in a long time. This I would say was the biggest challenge for us. However, there’s just one more day to go. We are all on our toes to ensure that the process goes off smoothly.”
The Varanasi administration credited the residents for making their job easier.
“For over a month, they put up with road shows, campaigns and security arrangements. People in some other constituency would not have tolerated this,” Prakash pointed out.
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Image: People walk passed a large mural of the Lord Shiva along the Ganga River in Varanasi
Photographs: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
'Modi has shown that he does not care about the locals'
While some in Varanasi feel that it would be good to have a PM candidate as their leader, others desire someone who would stick to the constituency.
Congress candidate Ajay Rai, who cast his vote on Monday morning, has been calling himself as the son of the soil.
A confident Rai told rediff.com, “People here want a candidate who will stay here and not run away to Delhi once the elections are over. Modi does not even have a right to vote here in Varanasi. How can he seek votes from a place where he cannot vote?”
“I am not swayed by all the hype and you will see once the elections are over all the hype created by the BJP would have had no meaning. The people of my constituency are simple and are looking for development. That can be provided only by me since I belong here and will not run away to Delhi once the results are out.”
“What Modi has managed to do here by taking this seat is show that he does not care about the locals. Why else would he replace Murali Manohar Joshi? The people of Varanasi know very well who they want as their candidate. My opponents have tried everything under the sun to put me down, which included filing politically-motivated cases against me. I have overcome all that.”
“The BJP cries foul over the actions by the Election Commission and the district administration. It is a sign of fear and they know that they will not win this seat. The Rahul Gandhi road show was a blessing in disguise. It did change a lot for the Congress and its effects will be shown when Varanasi decides today.”
Image: Ajay Rai, Congress candidate from Varanasi