VARANASI: A day after his massive roadshow in this Uttar Pradesh temple city, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a rally of booth workers, calling each one a Narendra Modi -- instilling in them confidence that the nation once more will vote for him.
Ahead of his much-anticipated filing of nomination as he seeks re-election from Varanasi, Modi told thousands of party workers: "A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in the country for the first time after independence. "People across the nation are saying... Fir Ek Baar...?" Modi prompted. "Modi Sarkar," the workers chanted back.
"Earlier governments were formed, but in the past five years, people saw a government run. I never said I am Prime Minister and denied anybody a meeting. I never refused to meet a single karyakarta (worker). I never let the Karyakarta in me die. I am aware of my duties as PM, as well as an MP." Several top BJP leaders and allies in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were present to join in the show of strength when the Prime Minister heads to the election centre.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan are expected to be present when the Prime Minister files his nomination, the BJP had said.
Leaders of the AIADMK, the Apna Dal and the North-East Democratic Alliance will also be present, the BJP said.
Modi will once again fight Ajay Rai of the Congress, who finished third in 2014. The Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party have fielded Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker.
Modi had won from Varanasi by a huge margin, winning 5.8 lakh votes. The Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal came second with around two lakh votes. Ajay Rai was left with a mere 75,000 votes.
Varanasi will vote on May 19 in the last round of the seven-phased poll. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.