Arvind Kejriwal’s family, BJP leaders Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley and others involved in campaign but not having voting rights in the city will have to leave the constituency after canvassing ends on Saturday evening in accordance with rules, officials made it clear on Friday.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Amethi candidate Kumar Vishwas had protested after his family members were asked to leave the constituency ahead of polling on May 7, accusing the administration of being biased and favouring his Congress rival Rahul Gandhi.
Denying any partisan approach, Varanasi’s Additional District Magistrate (City) M.P. Singh said the administration will carry out the exercise to evict those engaged in campaigning activities if they are not voters in the constituency irrespective of their party or candidate affiliation.
“We will not allow anybody involved in campaign and not having a vote to stay in the city after campaigning ends tomorrow. Be it Kejriwal’s family or BJP leaders like Amit Shah, everybody will have to comply with our orders,” Mr. Singh told PTI .
The high-octane campaign for the May 12 election will come to an end tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Besides Mr. Kejriwal and Narendra Modi, Congress’ Ajay Rai, a Varanasi local and MLA from nearby Pindara constituency, are the major candidates.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will address a roadshow in Varanasi on Saturday, seen as retaliation to Narendra Modi’s rally in Amethi on the last day of campaigning where the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee had made a stinging attack on the Congress leadership.
The ADM said the district administration has made all possible efforts to ensure free and fair election. Thousands of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the city as part of the security drill.
When asked about BJP’s allegation of adopting a partisan approach towards it following denial of permission to hold a rally by Mr. Modi in Beniabagh on Friday, the senior official refused to comment saying they were just performing their duty.
BJP had demanded that the Election Commission immediately remove Returning Officer Pranjal Yadav but the commission rejected it. Mr. Modi had carried out an informal road show in which thousands of his supporters participated.