• Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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India elections: Modi files nomination from Varanasi seat

Modi gestures to supporters after filing his nomination papers in Varanasi on May 14. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

As the India elections head towards the fifth phase, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi submitted his candidacy for the Varanasi parliamentary seat on Tuesday amidst enthusiastic crowds.

Varanasi, revered as the spiritual nucleus of Hinduism, holds profound significance, drawing pilgrims from across India for sacred rituals along the Ganges river. Modi has represented this constituency since his resounding victory a decade ago.

Before handing over his nomination papers, Modi solemnly declared, “I swear on God… I will have faith and allegiance to India’s constitution,” flanked by a Hindu sage clad in traditional attire.

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the local government office where Modi filed his nomination, after two days brimming with public displays of devotion.

“It’s our good fortune that Modi represents our constituency of Varanasi,” said devout Hindu Jitendra Singh Kumar, echoing sentiments shared by many in the crowd. “He is like a God to people of Varanasi. He thinks about the country first, unlike other politicians.”

Following the nomination process, Modi expressed gratitude to his supporters, stating on social media platform X, “The amazing love and blessings I have received from all of you in the last 10 years have inspired me to work with a constant spirit of service and full determination.”

The 73-year-old PM, renowned for his religious observances, commenced the day with temple visits and prayers along the Ganges banks. Tens of thousands lined the streets of Varanasi on Monday to welcome Modi, showering his procession with marigold flowers and waving BJP’s saffron-coloured flags.

Accompanied by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Modi visited the Kaal Bhairav temple before submitting his nomination papers at the Varanasi collectorate. Alongside Adityanath and two of his proposers, Modi was joined by senior BJP figures, including party chief JP Nadda and union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and others.

Notably absent from the event was Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, citing health reasons. Modi’s nomination proposers included Pandit Ganeshwar Shastri, Baijnath Patel, Lalchand Kushwaha, and Sanjay Sonkar. Shastri and Patel were present during the filing process.

Modi, adorned in a white kurta-pyjama and blue sadri, acknowledged the gathered crowd before departing. His busy agenda included a meeting with BJP workers at the Rudraksha Convention Centre.

Meanwhile, India witnessed a robust voter turnout of over 67 per cent in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) elections, spanning 96 constituencies across 10 states and union territories. Despite sporadic violence in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal recorded the highest turnout at 78.44 per cent, followed closely by Andhra Pradesh at 78.25 per cent and Odisha at 73.97 per cent.

The election commission noted a turnout of 37.98 per cent in the Srinagar constituency, the highest in decades since the revocation of Article 370. Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh reported varying voter turnout percentages. Madhya Pradesh registered a provisional voter turnout of 71.72 per cent.

The first three phases of the Lok Sabha elections recorded turnout rates ranging from 65.68 to 66.71 per cent.

(Agencies)

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