Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the Varanasi parliamentary seat by 479,505 votes on Thursday, bettering his victory margin of 2014 when he had defeated Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal by over 371,784 votes.
This time, Modi polled 674,664 voters while his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party secured 195,159 votes. The Congress’s Ajay Rai was in third place, polling 152,548 votes.
Modi was among 26 candidates in the fray in Varanasi this time. He took the lead from the first round of counting. His tally of votes increased with every round. As the trends came out on Thursday, BJP workers danced to drum beats and distributed sweets at Nadesar, Ravindrapuri and the party office in Sigra. The celebrations continued for a long time.
The PM had held a mega road show in Varanasi on April 25 and filed his nomination the next day. He did not campaign here thereafter, saying he would come to seek the blessings of people of Varanasi after the election results were declared.
He didn’t address any rally in his parliamentary constituency, though he campaigned for his party candidates in the nearby constituencies of Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur.
Prof Vishwash Chandra Srivastava, who taught political science at DAV degree College here, recalled that Modi visited Varanasi 20 times in the last five years and gifted development projects to the city almost every time. These included the Deendayal Upadhyay Trade Facilitation Centre and crafts museum, multi-modal terminal and (four) big hospitals, he said.
He picked up a spade and used to launch Swachh Bharat Abhiyan at Assi Ghat in November 2014, Srivastava said.
In 2014, people voted for Modi with the hope of development, Srivastava said. In Kashi, he has ensured it by constructing roads, beautifying lanes with special emphasis on improving sanitation across the city and infrastructure development, he said.
Locals also talked about heritage lighting, urinals and community toilets along the roads in the city, he said, adding all these factors helped Modi.
Modi’s oratory skill helped him strike a chord with the people of Varanasi where he started every speech in the local dialect, he said.
Prof Kaushal Kishore Mishra, who teaches political science at Banaras Hindu University, said, “People of Varanasi saw a lot of development during the last five years. Also, the locals knew that they had to elect PM and MP together.”
May 24, 2019 16:26 IST
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