Ma Ganga has called me to Varanasi, says Narendra Modi

VARANASI: reached the nomination centre in Varanasi after a three-hour ride in an open truck in a mega road show and said, “No one sent me here, I feel Ma Ganga called me.” It is a blistering hot afternoon in Varansi, but that did not deter what seemed like the entire city from turning up to watch Mr Modi’s convoy go by. There were thousands of people on the streets as Varanasi turns out in a celebration extraordinaire to cheer the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.modi
In a blog post this morning too he had invoked the Ganga, as he sought the blessing and support of the city and promised “a magnificent future for Varanasi” and an end to “a larger decay across UP.” In Varanasi, Mr Modi wore pristine white, but there was no lack of colour. BJP workers and supporters washed the ancient city in saffron. There was also the red of rose petals showered from the terraces and windows of homes as Mr Modi’s open truck crawled along the two-km route from Banaras Hindu University or BHU where he landed in a helicopter and the collectorate where he filed his nomination papers.
There were people everywhere in a carnival-like atmosphere, on terraces, on trees; those who have come in from other states are in traditional attire, holding up hundreds of flags with the BJP’s lotus symbol.
At BHU, Mr Modi garlanded the statue of the university’s founder Madan Mohan Malaviya whose grandson, a retired judge is among those who will propose his nameIn a programme designed for symbolism, a singer, a weaver and a boatman are the other proposers. On the streets were priests and even people dressed as Gods. A ‘Hanuman’ waved a mace. The chant of mantras and the sound of conch shells punctuated the sloganeering.Across town, hundreds of prayer ceremonies are being held to bring luck to Mr Modi.
The BJP leader garlanded three statues on the way – those of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, thinker Swami Vivekananad and BR Ambedkar.    Mr Modi has cannily chosen a polling day to file his papers. His party is backing that with a grand show to ascertain top of the mind recall as votes are cast in 117 constituencies in 11 states. His chief opponent in Varanasi is Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, who filed his nomination yesterday.

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