Varanasi/Chandauli: Taking the battle to Narendra Modi’s turf, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took out an impressive roadshow across Varanasi in a show of strength against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and accused his party of following a politics “full of anger”.
Returning the compliment to Modi, who had campaigned against Gandhi in Amethi earlier this week, the Congress vice president rolled out his journey from the Muslim-dominated Gol Gadda area with his party candidate Ajay Rai, waving to the cheering crowds covering a distance of 12 km in four hours.
Rahul’s show of strength in Varanasi on the last day of campaigning, covered a distance longer than those taken by Modi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, although in opposite direction.
He started from National Inter College and reached Lanka Gate after passing through busy areas like Maidagin, Beniabagh and Assi. He paid floral tributes at the statue of Madan Mohan Malviya at the BHU gate as the area was swarmed by Congress supporters.
“We are fighting to win. We are confident of out victory,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad who has been camping in Varanasi.
The family members of late maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan played shehnai during the roadshow. Earlier, the family had refused to become a proposer for Modi when he had filed nomination for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on April 24.
A large posse of policemen surrounded Rahul’s convoy as it moved with the flag-waving crowd in the streets of Varanasi.
With the sun blazing down, Congress supporters, many of them wearing tricolour caps, shouted slogans.
Rahul’s roadshow was allowed in Beniya Bagh, where Modi was refused permission by the Election Commission to hold rally due to security reasons, prompting an angry reaction from BJP.
“It is blot on the electoral process where a PM candidate has not been allowed to hold rally in his constituency. Why were security reasons cited for Modi and not for the other leaders who are campaigning there?
“It is now clear that the permission was denied due to political reasons and not for security reasons,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
Kejriwal on Friday led a massive roadshow from Banaras Hindu University Gate in Lanka area to Town Hall in Maidagin area, while Modi had drove through with his motorcade from BHU to Sigra a day before.
Rai has also got support from Muslim strongman Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal, although the two leaders have a long history of rivalry and have long been known as sworn enemies.
Raising the poll heat here, SP leader and Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also had one roadshow, while AAP leader Kumar Vishwas conducted one after Kejriwal’s got cancelled.
Other Congress leaders present in roadshow included Madhusudan Mistry, Nagma, CP Joshi and Raj Babbar, as also Congress candidate from here Ajay Rai.
Later addressing a rally in the neighbouring constituency of Chandauli, Gandhi said Gandhi does not understand the strength of India and its people and practiced politics of anger.