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Accompanied by top NDA leaders, Modi files nomination from Varanasi

Last updated on: April 27, 2019 00:08 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on Friday, accompanied by a galaxy of top Bharatiya Janata Party and National Democratic Alliance leaders in a massive show of strength for the country's ruling alliance.

-- INDIA VOTES

As the temple town virtually stopped in its tracks with roads cordoned off for traffic and crowds lining the streets to see the VIP cavalcade, Modi exhorted voters to not fall into the trap of those who say he has already won the election so it is fine to not exercise their franchise.

"Some people are creating an atmosphere that Modi ji has already won (the election) and it is fine not to vote. Please don't fall into their trap. Voting is your right and everyone must exercise it," Modi said after filing his papers.

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar, Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackarey and Shiromani Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal were with Modi at the Collectorate as Modi filed his papers, seeking a second term in the Lok Sabha from the constituency.

BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and senior Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, were also present on the occasion.

Four people proposed Modi's name -- former principal of Banaras Hindu University's women college Annapurna Shukla, 'Dom Raja' and 'chief cremator' Jagdish Chowdhary, from the family which lights every funeral pyre in the town, long time BJP worker Subhash Chander Gupta and agriculture scientist Ram Shanker Patel who has known him since his childhood.

In a day full of Kodak moments, Modi touched Badal's feet. He also touched Shukla's feet in a gesture of respect.

The four people who proposed his name were carefully chosen, each from a different caste -- Shukla is a Brahmin, Chowdhary a Dalit, Patel an OBC (other backward classes) and Gupta a Baniya.

Before reaching the Collectorate to file his nomination, Modi went to a temple to offer prayers.

The prime minister, who reached Varanasi on Thursday and brought life to a standstill as he held a seven-kilometre roadshow through the town, also addressed party workers in the morning.

The country, he said, is witnessing a pro-incumbency wave for the first time.

The prime minister also advised party workers to not get into a debate over who is contesting elections and who is not. He asked people to not be arrogant or over confident.

"Every candidate is respectable... is not our enemy. We should be humble and politely contest the elections," he said.

Modi noted that the mood is festive from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and said party workers are the real candidates.

Stating that he himself had been a booth worker, Modi said they actually own him.

"You are so unfortunate that your candidate will fill his form and run away. But the candidate is so fortunate that each voter considers himself the candidate," Modi said.

Underlining that the voter should be the central point of their discussions and not him, Modi said it is the people and party workers who are contesting elections.

Appealing to party workers to not get aggressive or lose their temper at abuses against him, Modi said, "I will grow a lotus from the dirt thrown on me."

The prime minister said he had worked honestly for good governance and the people had made up their minds they want another Modi government.

"During yesterday's roadshow here, I got a sense of the hard work of party cadres," he said amid chants of 'Modi Modi'.

WATCH: Modi files his nomination papers

Modi said workers should not get complacent and should ensure 'record breaking voting percentage this time during the scorching heat during the month of May'.

"We have to ensure more women come out for voting and at least five per cent more than men," he said.

Modi, who also participated in the 'Ganga Aarti' at the Dashashwamedh ghat, addressed a late night meeting in Varanasi on Thursday too.

While the last five years were about his government making sincere efforts, the next five will be about results, he said.

Stressing on national security, he said a new India gives a befitting reply to terror.

In 2014, Modi won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, defeating Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal by a massive margin of 3.37 lakh vote.

Modi 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.

Photographs: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo
Jatin Takkar in Varanasi
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