Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers on Friday from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency with top NDA leaders present in show of strength.
Among those accompanying him were senior leaders BJP’s Rajnath Singh , Nitin Gadkari . Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath, Sushma Swaraj, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar and LJP’s Ramvilas Paswan.
Dressed in white kurta -pyjama and a black sleeveless jacket, Modi walked into the Collectorate office at 11.20 am where he was welcomed with flowers by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The PM then greeted all the NDA leaders present and touched the feet of Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal.
The Prime Minister won this seat with a thumping majority in 2014 bagging more than half the votes polled, 56 per cent, with a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes over Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal. Congress’s Ajay Rai settled for third position with just about 7 per cent votes.
A member of the Dom Raja family, which helps perform the last rites at Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghat, a veteran BJP leader, a chowkidar and the principal of a women’s college were the proposers for PM Modi.
Panini Kanya Mahavidyalaya principal Nandita Shastri Chaturvedi is also among those who proposed the Prime Minister’s name. “This is a matter great pride and honour,” Nandita Shashtri Chaturvedi said.
“Apparently, the BJP has chosen the proposers strategically to give a message to Dalits, traders and elderly workers of the party,” Prof KK Mishra, a political analyst, said.
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Madan Mohan Malaviya’s grandson, Giridhar Malaviya, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, Padma Vibhushan and noted classical singer of Varanasi Chhanu Lal Mishra, boatman Vir Bhadra Nishad and weaver Ashok Maurya were the four proposers of Modi in the last election.
Varanasi will vote in the seventh and final phase of polling for the Lok Sabha election 2019 on May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23 and results are expected to be declared on the same day.