Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024
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Considered a stronghold of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014, Varanasi is set for a fierce battle between PM Modi and Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on June 1.

Varanasi is a closely watched constituency in the last phase of the Lok Sabha election, is one of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, with five assembly segments Rohaniya, Varanasi North, Varanasi South, Varanasi Cantt, and Sevapuri.
The voting in Varanasi will be held in the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections on June 1. The counting of the votes will take place on June 4.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded its Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Ajay Rai from the Congress and Athar Jamal Lari from the Bahujan Samaj Party have filed their nominations against him.
PM Modi, the sitting MP and BJP’s candidate is seeking a third consecutive term from the constituency and hoping to win with a record margin.
In 2014, PM Modi contested two Lok Sabha seats- from Gujarat’s Vadodara and Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi. PM Modi won the constituency with a resounding majority in both the 2014 and 2019 general polls.
Prime Minister Modi filed his nomination papers from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh on May 14. The Prime Minister is seeking a third consecutive term from the constituency and hoping to win with a record margin.
On the nomination day, PM Modi also performed Ganga Aarti, offering prayers to the River Ganga on the auspicious occasion of Ganga Saptami.
A total of 25 NDA leaders attended the nomination of the Prime Minister including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP National President JP Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
After filing the nomination, PM Modi urged the BJP workers to ensure a good voter turnout in his Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, which goes to the polls on June 1.
“What truly matters is the voter turnout; it reflects our representation in Kashi. Thus, our resolution should be directed towards booth victory. How do we achieve this? By transforming voting into a celebration of democracy. With 14 days left, let’s turn each polling booth into a festivity. Engage all local societies and neighbourhoods, adorn the booths with Rangoli and other festivities,” PM Modi said while addressing BJP workers at a conference in Varanasi.
Ajay Rai is the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and is facing a huge challenge against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a two-time MP from Varanasi.
Ajai Rai began his political career as a member of the Hindu nationalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Rai’s political trajectory saw him win the Kolasla seat in 1996 and secure a ministerial berth in the BSP-BJP alliance government.
However, he parted ways with the BJP in 2007 and joined the Samajwadi Party before eventually aligning with the Congress in 2012.
The UP Congress chief, Rai, was also fielded by the Congress against the PM in Varanasi in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but he finished third both times.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav on Saturday held a roadshow in support of the INDIA bloc candidate from Varanasi, Ajay Rai.
Ajay Rai hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over inflation and ‘crimes against women’ in the state and said that BJP is going to lose the ongoing Lok Sabha elections “very badly”.
“They (BJP) are losing very badly. If they were not losing the elections why would have PM Modi stayed overnight in Varanasi?…He came to Varanasi in 2014 as well as in 2019, but never stayed overnight. So, why did stay overnight this time?…The people have awakened and are voting for their rights,” he said.
The roadshow was attended by a massive crowd that gathered on both sides of the road.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Athar Jamal Lari from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. Lari has contested a total of 5 elections in his career, including two Lok Sabha and three Vidhan Sabha elections, but has not registered a single win.
Earlier, the Election Commission rejected the Lok Sabha nomination of comedian Shyam Rangeela, who had filed his papers from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency as an independent candidate.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi won the seat with over 6,74,664 votes and commanded a vote share of 63.6 per cent.
In 2014, PM Modi won the Varanasi seat for the first time on a BJP ticket, receiving 56.37 per cent of the total votes, while Arvind Kejriwal from the AAP came in second with 20.30 per cent and Ajay Rai from the Congress party came in third with 7.34 per cent of the votes. PM Modi won the elections with a margin exceeding 3 lakh votes.
As per the seat agreement between the Samajwadi Party and Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Congress is contesting on 17 seats and the Samajwadi Party has the remaining 63 seats in the electorally crucial state.
In the 2019 general elections, the BJP emerged triumphant, securing 62 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, supplemented by two seats clinched by its ally Apna Dal (S). Mayawati’s BSP managed to secure 10 seats, while Akhilesh Yadav’s SP garnered five. Conversely, the Congress party secured only one seat.
The election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. The counting of the votes will be held on June 4.-ANI

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