BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today filed his nomination papers from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, saying he had been called by "mother Ganga" to contest from this holy city.
He filed the papers after conducting a road show in the city.
Among those who proposed his nomination were Madan Mohan Malaviya's grandson Giridhar Malaviya, Padma Vibhushan awardee Chhandu Lal Mishra, boatman Virbhadra Nishad and Ashok, from the dominant weaver community.
Talking to reporters before filing his papers, Modi said he felt "Mother Ganges" has called him to contest from this constituency, "...Earlier I used to think that the BJP has sent me here, sometimes I felt that I am going to Kashi. But after coming here, I feel neither has anybody sent me nor have I come on my own. It is mother Ganga who has called me.
"And the way a child feels when he is back in his mother's lap, the same way I feel here," said the Gujarat Chief Minister who is also contesting from Vadodara in his home state.
He vowed to make Kashi a spiritual capital of the world.
"God... give me strength, so that I can work for the city, for my poor weaver brothers...so that Kashi can become a spiritual capital of the world," Modi said.
The BJP leader sought to project common links between his birthplace in Vadnagar in Gujarat and Varanasi, saying both were pilgrim centres for worshippers of Lord Shiva.
Modi also sought to reach out to the weaver community of Varanasi (also called Banaras), which makes up a sizeable section of the population in this constituency and many of them are muslims.
He said if he becomes the Prime Minister, he would provide encouragement to them in various ways so that their business could grow and expand.
"I can say about the weavers here. This is a valuable 'amanat' (legacy). Technological upgradation, marketing, branding, designing will be provided...If we create all these support bases, I don't see any reason why Kashi weavers would not be able to take on Chinese competition," he said.
To buttress his point, he said after he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had provided encouragement to poor muslims engaged in kite business and their commerce had grown manifold.
"I did some research. Though no state government would pat attention to kites, I studied and found kites used to travel to 24 places before it could be produced," Modi said.
After taking certain steps, the kite industry, which was worth Rs 35 crore in 2002, has now grown to Rs 700 crore. "And all the poor muslim brothers-sisters sit in their huts and produce kites," he added. He also said that there is talk about holistic healthcare across the world and such products were in demand. These require global marketing. He also spoke of his intention to work for the improvement of river Ganga saying and highlighted his work on Sabarmati river front.
"The way Mahatama Gandhi got to be known as 'Sabarmati ka Sant'....I had a chance to work on Sabarmati. And even if you watch on the internet, you will get to see what kind of work can be done. God should give me strength to work and the whole should hail Mother Ganges and Kashi," he said.
"I have got a chance to serve this land where Buddha had goven this message, this land of Varnasi Sarnath, this land of 'Bhole Baba', this land where the powers of 'sankatmochak' are limitless and my mind says Mother Ganges has called me here," the BJP leader said.
Murli Manohar Joshi congratulates Modi on filing nomination in Varanasi
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi congratulated party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on filing his nomination today in Varanasi and claimed his victory was certain in the temple town.
"It is a matter of joy that party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is filing his nomination in Varanasi...I appeal to people of the holy city and party workers in Varanasi to actively campaign for Narendra Modi," Joshi said in a letter issued by the BJP office here.
He further stated his inability to accompany Modi in Varanasi today during the nomination.
"I wanted to be present but due to election campaign in Kanpur, it wasn't possible. Since I am a voter from Varanasi, I will be there on May 12 to cast my vote," he said.
Modi filing his nomination papers from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, said he had been called by "mother Ganga" to contest from this holy city.