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For Modi, Priyanka Gandhi, Akhilesh and Mayawati, All Roads Lead to Varanasi Ahead of Final Phase

BJP president Amit Shah has started camping in Varanasi and has been meeting party leaders to review plan for the polling day.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:May 14, 2019, 12:10 PM IST
For Modi, Priyanka Gandhi, Akhilesh and Mayawati, All Roads Lead to Varanasi Ahead of Final Phase
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Lucknow: With the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections finally over, all eyes are now on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, which goes to polls in the seventh and last phase on May 19.

Uttar Pradesh is set to draw political biggies from across parties -- right from Priyanka Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav to Narendra Modi and Mayawati. The 14 constituencies that will go to polls on May 19 include Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushi Nagar, Deoria, Bansgaon, Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Robertsganj.

Nearly all the political parties feel that Varanasi is an axis point for the last phase as the constituency can influence seats in the Purvanchal region. It has almost 18.5 lakh voters and comprises five assembly seats -- Rohaniya, Varanasi North, Varanasi South, Varanasi Cantt and Sevapuri.

The AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi will be holding a grand road show for its candidate Ajay Rai here on Wednesday. Earlier it was being speculated that Priyanka might herself contest against Modi, but later Ajay Rai’s candidature from Varanasi was announced, dampening the spirit of Congress workers. Former Congress MLA Ajay Rai had also fought against Modi from Varanasi in 2014, but could fetch only about 75,000 votes and stood at number three spot. Piryanka is also expected to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple here.

On Thursday, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati will be addressing a joint rally in Varanasi to support their alliance candidate Shalini Yadav. The SP had initially settled for Shalini as it pick for Varanasi, but later zeroed in on sacked BSF soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav. After some irregularities led to cancellation on Tej Bahadur’s nomination, Shalini was once again announced as the alliance candidate. Rashtriya Lok Dal Chief Ajit Singh will also accompany Akhilesh and Mayawati in their joint rally.

While Modi had held a grand road show in Varanasi earlier as well, this time he is expected to stay in his constituency for a day after addressing a rally in the neighboring Mirzapur on May 17, the last day of campaigning for the last phase of Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah has already started meeting the BJP leaders in and around Varanasi to ensure the Modi’s win. Modi had won from Varanasi seat for the first time in 2014 with 5.80 lakh votes. The runner up spot was bagged by Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejirwal, who got over two lakh votes.

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