VARANASI BECAME MODIMAI ON NOMINATION
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Surge of men, women and adolescents in saffron on the roads of Varanasi on Narendra Modi’s nomination day for Lok Sabha was to be seen to be believed. The colour of the city was indeed saffron. The two-mile stretch from Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalaya to the Collectorate took almost four hours and anyone who was in Benares that day came out to have a glimpse of the former Chaiwala from Gujarat who is destined to be the Prime Minister of India. Almost all TV channels worth the name were there to cover every moment of movement of the man who means a lot to the entire country. On the occasion of the election to the 16th Lok Sabha, there is Modi wave in the country. After the road show of Modi before he filed his nomination papers before the ADM(E) in the courthouse of Varanasi, the wave has turned into a Tsunami, so said Amit Shah, the campaign man of Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh.
Vicissitudes of the road show are indeed interesting and worth recounting. When the Strategic Affairs Editor of the Headlines Today asked a lawyer at the local court why should people support Modi when he is not a Dharti Putra, his prompt answer was: Modi ji is Kashi Putra. So the man who promises good governance and make Bharat a strong country so that it has a pride of place in the comity of nations, is surely going to win the Varanasi seat to Lok Sabha hands down.
Many a journalist was keen on knowing why did Narendra bhai Modi choose 24th April as the day to file his nomination papers, prompt came a reply that as many as eleven States are having polls of Lok Sabha on this day and all eyes will be glued to the nearest TV set to watch the goings on in Varanasi Live. Obviously the massive turn out of Banarsi babus and behens for Modi’s road show was bound to influence the minds of voters who were yet to exercise their right og franchise. The Bhartiya Janata Party would be the ultimate gainer of the people’s surge on Varanasi roads.
What would be the response of the century plus old party whose prospective candidates are beating a hasty retreat? Well the stock answer of all leaders from Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi to the new doll just entered the fray is: There is no Modi wave; it is just a media creation. Didn’t some responsible politician of J&K say that leaders in denial mode are living in a fool’s paradise?
The joke goes like this: One of the morning walkers told a Congress leader out for a constitutional in a public park, “ Good Morning, Sir”. I deny it, so said the Congressman by force of habit.
BACK TO BENARES
The most ancient living city of the Hindus, Kashi is known for its Spiritualism, love of knowledge and learning, lanes and bylanes, not forgetting the Banarsi pan. The city of SIVA is the chosen place to breathe one’e last in the hope of going direct to Heaven. Kashi is also famous for many shastrarth between the Vedic dharm protagonists and preachers of Buddhism. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj had a mega shastrarth with the Pauranik pundits that was presided over by the Kashi Naresh himself.
Varanasi has a mixed population of followers of many religions. Nevertheless, they enjoy the sacred sight of pawan Ganga every morning, time permitting. While Narendra bhai Modi was waiting to file his nomination papers, he said to ANI that he came to Varanasi not because the BJP deputed him or he volunteered to contest election to seat no 77 but becausepawan Maa Ganga beckoned and he obeyed.
In that impromptu short byte the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP said that he would launch an Abhiyan to clean Ganga as he had cleaned river Sabarmati in Gujarat. He assured the citizens of Benares that he would do his best to make the Spiritual City Kashi as a world class place of pilgrimage to be visited by men and women from different parts of the world. He had the plight of Varanasi’s weavers in mind when he promised that modernization would improve their fate and preserve the heritage from vanishing.
No wonder when Modi Ji chose four citizens to propose his candidature in the nomination paper, one of them was a weaver, Ashok. The other three were a grandson of Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya,( the grand old man had founded the Benares Hindu University or BHU), now a retired judge of the High Court, a celebrated singer of the Banarsi gharana of Sangeet and a boatman carrying the surname, Nishad. Thus all major classes of citizens of Varanasi were represented. Indeed a lot of thoughtful planning g was done by Amit Shah, a close lieutenant of Narendra Modi.
The much hyped road show of Arvind Jejariwal held a day earlier pales into insignificance in the face of Modi’s road show. Where was he when Modi Ji was holding his show?Shri Bhagoda as he is popularly called because he quit the Delhi government in just 49 days and belied the trust of common man reposed in him. His greed of becoming Prime Minister of India made him sink his own boat of Delhi government. If he was between the devil and the deep sea, he chose the deep sea to sink. What about his future plan? Just sit on one dharna or the other just to attract the media attention. Right now he and his cohorts are sitting in protest at the ASSI ghat unnoticed, unhonoured and unsung.
The Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha, Shri Rai may fade into oblivion sooner or later. Other dons of the area trying to consolidate the votes of minorities for an infamous tactical voting may find the environment behind bars more congenial and less expensive. The old Congress party politics of instilling fear of BJP into the hearts of minorities to garner their votes cannot but fade into oblivion. Modi has promised a better economic life to weavers of Varanasi and nothing wins against the power of hard earned money. Does the Samajwadi party candidate see a lining behind the dark clouds? Well right now political opponents of the Bhartiy Janata Party are too stunned to think or speak.
Before I call it a day, I must express my gratefulness toISHWAR that His blessings saw the Modi cavalcade through without any untoward incident. A word of appreciation should go to the District Administration, the SPG, the Police and the CID for ensuring that prospective mischief mongers were kept subdued and on leash. It is learnt that the intelligence inputs were relied upon and appropriate counter measures taken in time to maintain Peace and Law and Order.
A piece of parting praise to the organizers , the media cell and overall incharge of UP polls, Shri Amit Shah of the Bhartiya Janata Party for ensuring that the Modi road show went as per plan.
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