Home / Elections 2019 / Election Results 2019 /  Varanasi celebrates its saffron leader with kesariya laddoos, crackers

Varanasi: “Raj tilak ki karo taiyyari, aa gaye bhagwadhaari" (loosely translated to begin the anointing of the leader as the saffron clad leader returns to power) echoed near the Godowlia Crossing, Dashashwamedh Ghat Road in Varanasi as Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) supporters began celebrating the early results indicating a clear sweep for the ruling party.

BJP has managed to clinch over 341 seats crushing its arch rival Rahul Gandhi led Congress which currently stands at 86. The 3, 000 year old Hindusim’s holiest city of Varanasi, also Narendra Modi’s constituency, began to celebrate the festival of democracy as BJP is inching closer to come back to power.

“We are distributing 250 kg of kesariya boondi ladoo which is PM Modi’s favourite sweet and we aim to put tilak (vermillion and sandal)on 51, 000 people in the city to celebrate Modiji’s victory today," said Sanjay Kesari, 51, owner of an undergarment factory.

Kesari is speaking as a member of an independent organization called ‘Akhil Bhartiya Kesarvani Vaish Yuvak Sabha’ which comprises businessmen who support Modi.

Catch all the live updates here: Lok Sabha Election Results 2019

Barely 800 meters from Dashashwamedh Ghat where the popular Ganga aarti is conducted every day, an enormous cutout of PM Modi has been placed allowing people to click selfies and post on social media platforms. Drenched in sweat on a hot May morning, Anoop Jaiswal, local party leader and coordinator of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in Kashi is seen busy coordinating the celebrations as dhols play in the background.

“Results aane dejiye phir baat karenge lekin Modi ji hi aayenge who bhi 2014 se bade bahumat se (Let the results come but I can assure that Modi is coming that too with a bigger margin than 2014 Lok Sabha Elections," he said.

In the age of digitization, Brand Modi has also created immense influence on public in this election, believes 43-year old entrepreneur Shaishta Yasmeen who has voted for PM Modi in this election. “Jo dikhta hai who bikta hai (what’s visible sells) and BJP will come to power only because of Brand Modi," she said sitting on the steps of Assi Ghat.

Clearly, Modi supporters have outnumbered others who have voted for Shalini Yadav, the candidate of the gathbandhan (alliance) of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Ajay Rai of the Congress in the city. Most people who have voted for Modi, who won the Varanasi constituency with 581,023 votes in 2014, brought in the development, cleanliness, anti-corruption and nationalism narrative. Home to 1.2 million people, the city witnessed low voting turnout this election.

“I feel a majority of government employees are against Modi because he has streamlined the system, forcing them to be accountable and work which might have ticked them off," said 31-year old tour guide Gurugeaf Tripathi dressed in BJP’s ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ slogan tee while sipping tea at the popular Babu ki chai near Assi Ghat.

Approximately 2kms away from Assi Ghat is Madanpura, one of Banaras' main neighbourhoods of silk weavers and also a Muslim dominated locality which wears a deserted look. Unlike the other key areas of the city where people are seen glued to their smartphones live streaming the election results, for the inhabitants of Madanpura it is a regular day.

“Yes, I have voted but we all know who is coming (smiles)," said a very calm 34-year old Waheed Qureshi who is busy buying fruits from a roadside seller.

But for 54-year old silk weaver Muqtalib, who has suffered huge losses and is left doing finishing work of silk sarees, it takes one question on Modi’s expected victory for him to erupt in anger.

“This is a rigged election which has been manipulated by using faulty EVM machines. How is it possible otherwise for a 70-year old party (Congress) to stand no chance in this election?" he asked.

Majority of the voices from the margins of Varanasi, one of 80 constituencies in UP, India’s most important state electorally feel that this election has not been fought on real issues such as inflation or unemployment. With no place for dissent, they feel that a coalition government could have been the answer to the woes of the country which is increasingly becoming polarized.

“Congress ya BJP ki jeet ka sawaal nai hai, yeh desh aur uski janta ka sawaal hai (It’s not question of which party is winning but the welfare of the country and its citizens)," said 48-year old Abdul Wahid who runs a handloom saree shop in Madanpura.

With coalition government far from the sight, Varanasi is expected to turn the election results day into the festival of light.

“I have bought 1, 000 worth of crackers," said 38-year old Beerapatti village resident Sanjay Upadhyay who ferries tourist in his car for a living in the city. “Hum Deepavali aaj hi manyenge (We will celebrate Diwali today)."

Catch all the live updates here: Lok Sabha Election Results 2019

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