Prime Minister Narendra Modi is surging ahead in Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, according to early trends. His main opponents Ajay Rai of Congress and Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party are trailing. Modi's constituency went for polls in the last phase of Lok Sabha election 2019 on May 19. A total of 25 contestants fought elections against the PM from Kashi. These candidates belong to various states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
Apart from Modi's two-day mega show of strength before filing his nomination from Kashi on April 26, the saffron party's big leaders like Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal, Sushma Swaraj and Yogi Adityanath held several poll campaigns in this high-profile constituency. Opposition parties, led by Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, also held road-shows but none of them matched the enthusiasm and euphoria of Modi's rallies.
Echoing the scenes of his 2014 election campaign when the Modi wave swept the entire nation, his 2019 poll rallies had also created a similar buzz among the people of Kashi. The city of gods was virtually painted in saffron when thousands thronged the streets chanting 'Modi, Modi' and 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' as Modi traversed through the streets of Varanasi on his black Range Rover.
In 2014, PM Modi had 41 candidates contesting the poll against him but the number this time has gone down to 25. Modi won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat by defeating Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes. Congress' Ajay Rai had secured mere 75,614 votes in 2014 and finished third after Kejriwal while BSP candidate Vijay Prakash Jaiswal had got 60,579 votes.
Modi had received 5, 16,593 votes -- about half of the total votes. Modi's victory margin in this eastern Uttar Pradesh constituency was the highest ever for the Lok Sabha seat in 2014. However, it remains to be seen if the BJP leader succeeds in breaking his own record this time.
Among the main opponents of Modi in 2019 Lok Sabha is SP-BSP alliance candidate Shalini Yadav. A newbie in the electoral politics, Yadav had contested mayoral polls in Varanasi in 2017 but had finished second after securing 1.14 lakh votes. She is the daughter of former Union minister and Congress leader Shyam Lal Yadav.