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Modi's final UP pitch: 'Opposition believes in development for few', Akhilesh slams PM's Varanasi roadshow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a massive roadshow in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi on Saturday in the last leg of Uttar Pradesh elections. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 06, 2017, 02.29 PM (IST)

Continuing with his whirlwind tour of his parliamentary constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today visited Garhwa Ghat Ashram in Varanasi. The ashram has a huge following among the backward castes especially the Yadav community. He also paid homage to former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who belonged to the Congress, at his ancestral house in Varanasi's Ramnagar area.

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The visit to the ashram is seen as an attempt to woo the Yadav community as the head priest of the ashram traditionally comes from the Yadav caste. The visit came on the last day of campaigning in Uttar Pradesh before the seventh and final phase of polling for 40 seats which take place on Wednesday. The results will be declared on March 11.

He addressed a rally in Rohaniya, one of the assembly constituencies in Varanasi, where he took on the Akhilesh Yadav-led government targeting it for its anti-farmer policies.

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The prime minister has been vigorously campaigning in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi for the last three days. Modi has held a roadshow and attended several public events here.

BJP sources believe that Modi's visit and his public felicitation by the ashram will send out a "good signal" to voters, especially the OBCs and the Dalits, PTI reported.

Varanasi has five assembly constituencies of which three are presently held by the BJP.

Addressing a gathering of intelligentsia last night, Modi quoted a verse by the medieval era poet Kabir saying: "Those who are selfish tend to praise each other but the one who is selfless is never liked by them." 

"This appears to be my fate," said the Prime Minister, according to PTI.  

Earlier, addressing a massive rally, Modi launched a scathing attack on the Samajwadi Party (SP) government blaming it for stalling development in Uttar Pradesh. He targeted the ruling party in UP on a range of issues including the bad condition of roads in Varanasi and erratic power supply in the state. 

He lashed out at the Akhilesh Yadav-led government for not providing the list of those who need homes in UP to Centre. He said that his government is committed to providing homes to the homeless by 2022.

The prime minister said that the opposition believes in the maxim "kuch ka saath, kuch ka vikas"( support of few, development for few), which means development only for few. He said that the BJP government believes in "sabka saath, sabka vikaas", which means development for everyone. Highlighting the skewed development of the state of Uttar Pradesh where the eastern part has lagged behind, he said that his government is committed towards the development of Purvanchal.

Hailing the Indian Army for the surgical strikes conducted on terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir last year, the prime minister went all guns blazing against those who asked for proof of those strikes. He said those who are asking for proof do not respect the bravery of our soldiers.

He fiercely attacked the Congress saying that during the UPA government people used to hear stories about national wealth getting lost in various scams but in the present government of BJP people ask how much money is coming back in the system. 

He said that opposition joined hands against the BJP after his surprise move to demonetise higher denomination currency last year. 

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, while campaigning in Jaunpur, took a dig at the Prime Minister for spending too much time in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi. He said that that if the BJP is so confident of a victory then what is the need for the prime minister to devote so much time to Varanasi. His wife Dimple Yadav said that people of UP have so much faith in Akhilesh Yadav that the prime minister has to hold back-to-back roadshows in Varanasi.

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The stakes are high for the BJP, Congress-SP alliance, and the BSP in the final leg of the Uttar Pradesh battle. The 40 seats that are going to polls in the final phase saw the Samajwadi party sweeping the region in 2012 elections with 23 seats. But, the tables turned in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the BJP won all the parliamentary constituencies in the region. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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