Varanasi, April 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on Friday.
Modi won the Varanasi seat in 2014 with a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes.
In an impressive show of strength, the entire top leadership of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was present at the nomination.
BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan and Piyush Goyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Assam Chief Minister Sarvanand Sonowal and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were among those present.
AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam were also present.
The Prime Minister, in a touching gesture, touched the feet of Akali Dal leader Prakash Singh Badal, one of the senior-most politicians in the country, and sought his blessings.
Union Minister Anupriya Patel said: “There is no doubt that the Modi government is returning to power with full force. The road show in Varanasi shows the kind of support that the Prime Minister has got from the people.”
Paswan also reiterated that the NDA would return to power with a greater majority and asserted that the elections were a mere formality.
Jagdish Chaudhary, a member of the Dom Raja family, which helps perform the last rites at Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghat, Subhash Gupta, a veteran BJP leader, and Nandita Shastri, the principal of a women’s college were among those who proposed Modi’s name.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister held a meeting with party workers in which he is said to have laid down the strategy for campaigning.
“All party workers must take it upon themselves to get the Modi app on the phones of all first time voters and ask them to look at the positive news surrounding our government,” he said.
“A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in country for the first time after independence. People across the nation are saying, ‘Fir ek baar.. Modi Sarkar’. Political pundits will analyze this pro-incumbency wave later,” he said.
He told party workers to respect all candidates contesting the elections as they are also part of the democratic process.
“Don’t get influenced by our fights in election rallies. No candidate is our enemy. They are all part of the democratic process. Respect them all,” he stated.
He added: “We need to break some records in Varanasi. I have always wished that a number of women voters’ turnout will be more than men. I couldn’t do this in Gujarat, but you can do it Varanasi. I have faith in you.
“Kashi has been won. Kashi was won by the party and party workers on Thursday night. Now, the polling booths are the only thing left to be won in Kashi.”
Modi then visited the Kaal Bhairav temple and offered prayers.
Varanasi will go to polls on May 19 in the last phase of elections.