Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Prime Minister Narendra Modi files nomination from Varanasi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination for the 2024 Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi Tuesday morning – after a flashy six km roadshow last evening – accompanied by a phalanx of senior leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partners.

Na Mai Yaha Aaya Hoon, Na Mujhe Kisi Ne Bheja Hai, Mujhe Toh Maa Ganga Ne Bulaya Hai (Neither have I come here nor has anyone sent me, Mother Ganga has called me),” said Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat as he filed his nomination from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

Recalling the same remark on Tuesday as he filed his nomination for the third time from Varanasi, Modi said that mother Ganga had adopted him and his bond with Kashi is similar to a mother’s relation with her son.

Pandit Ganeshwar Shastri, a member of the Brahmin community who is known for determining the auspicious time for the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and UP CM Yogi Adityanath accompanied the Prime Minister inside the nomination centre.

This morning, en route to filing his papers, Mr Modi prayed at the city’s iconic Dashashwamedh Ghat, on the banks of the Ganges, with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath present, and visited the Kaal Bhairav Temple. Before visiting the temple he said, “My relationship with my Kashi is amazing, inseparable, and incomparable… it cannot be expressed in words!”

“I am overwhelmed and emotional! I did not even realise how 10 years passed under the shade of your affection. Aaj Maa Ganga ne mujhe god le liya hai (today, Maa Ganga has adopted me).”

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

On Monday, after his roadshow, the Prime Minister said, “The love and blessings my family members of Kashi showed during the road show became an unforgettable moment in my life.”

Mr Modi is seeking a third consecutive term from the BJP bastion; the party has won this seat eight times since 1991, with only RK Mishra of the Congress, in 2004, managing to break the stranglehold.

Varanasi will vote in the seventh and final phase of this election – on June 1. In the 2019 poll Mr Modi won by nearly 4.8 lakh votes, a big jump from the 3.72 lakh winning margin five years earlier.

In the 2014 election Varanasi saw a high-profile clash between the Prime Minister and Aam Aadmi Party boss Arvind Kejriwal, who gathered a little over 20 per cent of the votes on his debut in the BJP fortress. This time around (on paper) the PM’s rival is the Congress’ Ajay Rai. Mr Rai contested in 2019 and got 1.52 lakh votes, and an improved vote share of 7.04 per cent.

Hindus make up around 75 per cent of Varanasi’s demographic. Muslims make up 20 per cent.

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An estimated 10 per cent of the population belong to Scheduled Tribes and only 0.7 are from Scheduled Castes. The rural-urban split of the population is 65 to 35 per cent.