DNA Exclusive: What PM Modi’s Varanasi visit means for upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached his parliamentary constituency Varanasi after a gap of 7 months and 15 days on Thursday (July 15). He inaugurated 78 projects completed at a cost of Rs 744 crore and also laid the foundation of 206 proposed schemes. But his visit to the city was not limited only to development schemes. It was rather directly related to the Legislative Assembly elections in the state to be held next year.

Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary explained what the prime minister’s visit to Varanasi reveals about the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The PM’s Varanasi was significant in a number of ways. It gave a clue to what can be expected in the polls next year. Here are some key points to note in this regard:

1. Yogi Adityanath will be BJP’s CM candidate

Last month, BJP National General Secretary BL Santhosh visited Lucknow where he met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other party leaders. Following this, Adityanath reached Delhi to meet Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda. There were wide speculations about a major reshuffle in UP ahead of the polls.

Even Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Morya, in a special conversation with Zee News on June 13, had said that the central leadership will decide who will be BJP’s CM face for the UP elections.

All these speculations were put to rest today when PM Modi praised Adityanath and his governance.

Modi’s kind words for the CM, particularly for his handling of the COVID-19 second wave, confirmed that Adityanath will be the CM candidate in the UP polls.

2. PM Modi kick-starts UP election campaign

With the announcement of a flurry of schemes, PM Modi kick-started the election campaign from Varanasi. The most important of these projects is the International Cooperation and Convention Centre of Varanasi, which has been named Rudraksh.

In 2017, when former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe came to Ahmedabad, there was a discussion on building this Convention Centre after which its construction started in 2018. The project was completed in just three years and today PM Modi inaugurated it.

3. PM Modi will be the face of BJP in the UP election

With today’s developments, it is clear that the BJP will contest the UP election projecting PM Modi as the key figure.

But why did the Prime Minister choose Varanasi to start the election campaign?

There are a total of 403 Vidhan Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, out of which ‘Purvanchal’ alone has the maximum number of 156 seats. In the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections, BJP won 106 seats here, while Samajwadi Party got 18 and BSP got 12 seats.

If BJP has to come to power again, then these seats will have to be given due importance. Perhaps this is why PM Modi chose to kick off the election campaign from Varanasi.

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