BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday tried to project himself as a changed personality by avoiding caste remarks and direct attacks on his major political opponents or the Election Commission.
Modi was denied permission to hold a rally in Beniabagh, a communally sensitive area of Varanasi from where Modi is contesting the polls. He addressed a public meeting in Rohania and said he would not only flood Varanasi with developmental works but also remove miseries of weavers, who are mostly Muslim, and saree traders. He also promised he would change the tourism industry of the holy town.
Modi didn’t visit the historic Kashi Vishwanath temple. Nor did he mention the temple in his speech. And he rejected invites to join Ganga Maha Aarti in the evening. He said he would not criticise others but speak only about development. He then honoured freedom fighter Col Nizamuddin of Azad Hind Fauj by touching his feet. The prime minister hopeful didn’t criticise Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, or SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Modi’s carcade passed through the prestigious Banaras Hindu University campus on its way to the BJP office.
Earlier, BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah demonstrated opposite the District Magistrate’s office to protest against the denial of permission for the rally. They, however, wound up the protest in three hours, without submitting any memorandum to the administration. A huge crowd thronged Modi’s carcade and blocked most of the roads in the town.