It was saffron all around, from marigold garlands decking the city to Modi caps, as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate filed his nomination in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday.
Calling his visit a homecoming, Mr. Narendra Modi said, “First I thought the BJP sent me here, then I thought I am going to Kashi, but after I came here, I feel Maa Ganga has called me. I feel like a child who has returned to his mother’s lap.”
Referring to the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (etiquette), proof of the city’s secular culture, he said, “I hope God grants me the power to serve this city and the tehzeeb. I hope it [Varanasi] attains the status of the spiritual capital of the world.”
Trying to forge a connect with Varanasi, Mr. Modi said he was born in Vadnagar in Gujarat, also a famous Shiva pilgrimage centre, and the Nagar community from there lived in Kashi.
Mr. Modi’s “Shobha Yatra” lasted a few hours, bringing the city to a grinding halt.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal dismissed the show of strength as stage-managed.