On the day of the sixth and penultimate phase of polling in UP, Varanasi’s Baba Vishwanath got the biggest vote. The high and mighty of the land were at his feet, seeking his blessings to win the mandate of this election.
On Saturday, India displayed itself as a cacophonous, marigold-wrapped democracy in the streets of the holy of ancient imagination. Competitive cavalcades carried the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and his ally, the vice president of the oldest party of the land, and a former Chief Minister, each spewing their last-mile political messaging.
Voters in Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Mau, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Ballia came out to exercise their franchise in the sixth phase of the election but the attention of Narendra Modi, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati had already moved on to the final phase on March 8.
Modi was an early starter as he ignored his security personnel to reach out to the people of his constituency with a massive road show.
Akhilesh Yadav teamed up with his wife Dimple Yadav and his new buddy Rahul Gandhi to do a me-too road show. Not to be left behind, Mayawati addressed a mammoth rally around the same time. Modi topped up his parade with a widely televised visit to Baba Vishwanath and his other avatar, the Kaal Bhairav.
With the election poised for a photo-finish, the claimants to power were eager for a little assistance from divinity, but Mayawati was an exception on this count.
Taking no chances, Modi will stay in Varanasi for three days. The angst among local BJP workers that their favourite candidate was not given the party ticket is said to have evaporated in the PM's presence.
“Till now, it seemed like the Congress had an edge. Not anymore; Modiji is here and we will win," said a BJP supporter.
On the day of the sixth and penultimate phase of polling in UP, Varanasi’s Baba Vishwanath got the biggest vote. The high and mighty of the land were at his feet. It has not been an easy election. If Modi’s road show attracted huge crowds so did the parade of Akhilesh-Rahul.
Mayawati’s rally, mostly peopled by women, seemed to outnumber both. However, that Akhilesh and Rahul had to mount what looked like a copycat show and make a copycat visit to the Vishwanath temple made theirs a jaded affair.
It added to the overall confusion no doubt. Also because, the Congress, like last time, complained to the Election Commission that the PM was breaching the model code of conduct. His road show did not have the permission.
The day’s excitement showed also how bitter and closely fought the UP contest is.