A day before his nomination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a mega roadshow in Varanasi, drawing massive crowds, before he culminated the show of strength with the Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Soaring the political temperatures, Modi was joined by Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other senior BJP leaders in the temple town.
The show of strength takes place on a day the Congress ended all speculation about its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra taking on Modi in the city.
'Grateful for the warmth and affection!' Modi tweeted after the commencement of the seven-kilometre roadshow, which passed through several parts of the city, including Lanka and Assi areas, amid cheering crowds, wearing saffron-coloured attires and showering rose petals.
Modi started his roadshow with the garlanding of the statue of Banaras Hindu University founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
The Prime Minister, who was wearing a saffron kurta and white pyjama along with a matching saffron scarf, waved at people lined up on the both sides of the road and jostling to get a glimpse of him.
Chants of 'Modi, Modi' rent the air as BJP supporters danced to music and the beating of drums in front of huge banners reading 'main bhi chowkidar'.
WATCH: PM Modi's roadshow in Varanasi
Modi is on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency and is scheduled to file his nomination on Friday in the presence of National Democratic Alliance leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi, who contested from two seats --Varanasi and Vadodra in Gujarat-- had defeated Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from Varanasi. Congress' Rai finished third.
The nearly 4-hour roadshow ended at the Dashashwamedh Ghat where Modi took part in the Ganga Aarti along with Shah and the UP chief minister. Later, Modi also performed a puja.
50-year old Shyamlal Sharma, a local BJP worker who was wearing a saffron coloured T-shirt with a graffiti 'Modi forever', termed the roadshow a carnival for the city.
Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch and former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan are also expected to be present when Modi flies his nomination, BJP had said.
The Congress, however, said Modi's roadshow as aimed at covering up his failure of fulfilling the promises made to the people there and demanded that he should apologise for 'betraying' them.
"Optics are more important than results and that is why the roadshow is being taken out as the resolve of serving the people of Varanasi that Modi ji had taken, the commitment he had shown to purify Ganga Ma, he has been completely unsuccessful in that," Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak.
The prime minister wants that people's cries get 'drowned in today's noise and show', she alleged.