Varanasi: With Varanasi to vote on May 19 in the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the constituency has seen many big political leaders campaigning here, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress star-campaigner and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
In Varanasi, however, it is not just BJP leaders that are canvassing for Mr Modi. Many other individuals who are not party workers and have no political inclination whatsoever have been observed to move around the streets of the ancient city to appeal voters to vote of Mr Modi out of sheer affection for him.
Ms Soma Ghosh, renowned classical singer and adopted daughter of Ustad Bismillah Khan, is one such individual. Ms Ghosh, who belongs to Varanasi but lives in Mumbai, has returned especially to appeal the public to vote for the Prime Minister. Other than participating as a celebrity singer in non-political “voter awareness” programmes, she has been visiting the famous Assi Ghat early in the morning to appeal to people to vote for Mr Modi. “I am a huge supporter of Mr Modi. He has transformed this holy city, so we must support him,” she said.
Several other artists have been campaigning for the “strong leader” in various ways.
A couple from Gujarat, Dr Kamlesh Joshipura and Bhavana Joshipura, arrived in the city a month ago. The duo had campaigned for Mr Modi in the 2014 elections and since then, they have kept themselves in constant contact with the Gujarati families living in the city. Approximately 50,000 Gujarati voters live in Varanasi, and the Joshipura couple has played an important role in uniting these families to form the Shree Kashi Gujarati Samaj.
“Our aim is to meet Gujarati families and talk to them about how a Gujarati leader has been doing good work for Varanasi and for the entire country,” Dr Joshipura said. Although the couple has a party inclination, they are doing their job silently in individual capacities.
Political observers believe that while party campaigns certainly create the momentum, group meetings and informal talks of this kind help parties secure votes....