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PM Modi Files Nomination from Varanasi After Prayers at Iconic Sites

Prime Minister Narendra Modi submitted his nomination for the 2024 Lok Sabha election in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday morning, following a grand six-kilometer roadshow the previous evening. He was accompanied by a cadre of senior leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its coalition partners, including party chief JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, as well as Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

This morning, before filing his candidacy papers, Mr. Modi offered prayers at Varanasi’s iconic Dashashwamedh Ghat, situated along the Ganges, with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by his side. He also visited the Kaal Bhairav Temple. Prior to his temple visit, he expressed, “My bond with my Kashi (Varanasi) is incredible, inseparable, and beyond words… it’s a connection that defies description!”

“I am overwhelmed and emotional! I didn’t even realize how 10 years flew by under the shade of your affection. Today, Mother Ganga has embraced me.”

After filing his nomination, the Prime Minister is scheduled to address his supporters.

Following his roadshow on Monday, the Prime Minister remarked, “The love and blessings showered upon me by the people of Kashi during the roadshow became an unforgettable moment in my life.”

Mr. Modi is vying for a third consecutive term from the BJP stronghold. The party has secured this seat eight times since 1991, with only RK Mishra of the Congress managing to break the hold in 2004.

Varanasi is slated to vote in the seventh and final phase of the election on June 1. In the 2019 election, Mr. Modi secured victory by nearly 4.8 lakh votes, a significant increase from his 3.72 lakh winning margin five years earlier.

The 2014 election in Varanasi witnessed a high-profile contest between the Prime Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, who garnered slightly over 20 percent of the votes in his debut in the BJP stronghold. This time, on paper, the PM’s primary opponent is Congress’ Ajay Rai. Mr. Rai contested in 2019, securing 1.52 lakh votes and an improved vote share of 7.04 percent.

Hindus constitute approximately 75 percent of Varanasi’s population, while Muslims make up 20 percent. An estimated 10 percent of the population belongs to Scheduled Tribes, with only 0.7 percent from Scheduled Castes. The population is divided roughly 65 to 35 percent between rural and urban areas.

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