Show of strength in Varanasi: Rahul hits back at Modi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi waves to the crowd at a road show with party candidate Ajay Rai in Varanasi.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi waves to the crowd at a road show with party candidate Ajay Rai in Varanasi.

PTI, Varanasi :
Returning the compliment to Narendra Modi who had campaigned against him in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took out an impressive roadshow on the last day across Varanasi, where the BJP prime ministerial candidate is contesting.
Starting his journey from a Muslim dominated Gol Gadda area, the Congress vice-president, flanked by party candidate Ajay Rai, waved to the cheering crowds while standing in his vehicle as his convoy travelled a distance of 12 kilometres in four hours.
Rahul’s maiden show of strength in Varanasi on the last day of campaigning was held in retaliation to Modi addressing a rally in Amethi on May 5 on poll eve where BJP’s Smriti Irani is taking on the Congress leader.
Rahul’s roadshow covered longer routes than those by Modi and AAP candidate Arvind Kejriwal, although in opposite direction.
He started from National Inter College and reached Lanka Gate after passing through busy areas like Maidagin, Beniabagh and Assi. He paid floral tributes at the statue of Madan Mohan Malviya at the BHU gate as the area was swarmed by Congress supporters.
He was helped by party men as he climbed a ladder to reach the pedestal. Modi and Kejriwal too had garlanded the statue during their previous road shows.
“We are fighting to win. We are confident of out victory,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad who has been camping here.
The family members of late shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan played shehnai during the roadshow. Earlier, the family had refused to become a proposer for Modi when he had filed nomination for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on April 24.
Rahul’s payback roadshow came as campaign frenzy gripped Varanasi, which will go to polls on May 12 in the last lap of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections.
A large posse of policemen surrounded Rahul’s convoy as it moved with the flag-waving crowd in the streets of Varansi.
With the sun blazing down, Congress supporters, many of them wearing tricolour caps, shouted slogans.
Rahul’s roadshow was allowed in Beniya Bagh, where Modi was refused permission by the Election Commission to hold rally due to security reasons, prompting an angry reaction from BJP.