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Varanasi/Chandauli: Taking the battle to Narendra Modi’s turf, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took out an impressive roadshow across Varanasi in a show of strength against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate and accused his party of following a politics “full of anger".

Returning the compliment to Modi, who had campaigned against Gandhi in Amethi earlier this week, the Congress vice president rolled out his journey from the Muslim-dominated Gol Gadda area with his party candidate Ajay Rai, waving to the cheering crowds covering a distance of 12 km in four hours.

Rahul’s show of strength in Varanasi on the last day of campaigning, covered a distance longer than those taken by Modi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadcer Arvind Kejriwal, although in opposite direction. He started from National Inter College and reached Lanka Gate after passing through busy areas like Maidagin, Beniabagh and Assi.

He paid floral tributes at the statue of Madan Mohan Malviya at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) gate as the area was swarmed by Congress supporters. “We are fighting to win. We are confident of out victory," said Ghulam Nabi Azad who has been camping in Varanasi.

The family members of late maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan played shehnai during the roadshow. Earlier, the family had refused to become a proposer for Modi when he had filed nomination for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on 24 April.

A large posse of policemen surrounded Rahul’s convoy as it moved with the flag-waving crowd in the streets of Varansi. With the sun blazing down, Congress supporters, many of them wearing tricolour caps, shouted slogans.

Rahul’s roadshow was allowed in Beniya Bagh, where Modi was refused permission by the Election Commission to hold rally due to security reasons, prompting an angry reaction from BJP.

“It is blot on the electoral process where a PM candidate has not been allowed to hold rally in his constituency. Why were security reasons cited for Modi and not for the other leaders who are campaigning there? “It is now clear that the permission was denied due to political reasons and not for security reasons," BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.

Kejriwal on Friday led a massive roadshow from BHU Gate in Lanka area to Town Hall in Maidagin area, while Modi had drove through with his motorcade from BHU to Sigra a day before.

Rai has also got support from Muslim strongman Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal, although the two leaders have a long history of rivalry and have long been known as sworn enemies.

Raising the poll heat in Varanasi, SP leader and UP chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also had one roadshow, while AAP leader Kumar Vishwas conducted one after Kejriwal’s got cancelled.

Other Congress leaders present in roadshow included Madhusudan Mistry, Nagma, C.P. Joshi and Raj Babbar, as also Congress candidate from Varanasi Ajay Rai.

Later addressing a rally in the neighbouring constituency of Chandauli, Gandhi said Modi does not understand the strength of India and its people and practiced politics of anger.

Attacking him on the snoopgate issue, Gandhi advised Modi to change slogans on his posters where it was promised that he would give power to women, as “he was the person sending police after women and tapping their phone in Gujarat."

He took pot-shots at Modi for his alleged links to Gujarat-based industrial house Adanis. “We (Congress) want to fulfil your dream. He (Modi) shows dream to Adani," Gandhi said, but clarified that Congress was not against industrialists.

“If the country has to move forward, then there has to be partnership between industrialists and labourers. Everybody will be part of the development, labourers, farmers and workers," he said.

Gandhi said that BJP leaders’ speeches were “full of anger, but India works on love and not on anger." “India is for everybody. It is for Hindus, Muslims, Sikh and Christians. It belongs to every caste and community, poor and rich people and it will remain for everybody."

On Modi, he said, “Few days back, I saw a poster in Delhi which had Modji’s image and it was written that “Mahilaon ko main shakti doonga". Me, not we, only me." “He (Modi) comes to you and says, you have not done anything. Nothing happened in India for the last 60 years. He asks farmers, workers, what have you done. Says India was sleeping.

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