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Varanasi to be battleground for PM, Rahul, Akhilesh, Mayawati

Varanasi to be battleground for PM, Rahul, Akhilesh, Mayawati

Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati will descend on Varanasi Saturday making it their battleground ahead of the last phase of UP polls, a schedule that has put the administration on its toes.

According to the programme received by the district administration here, Modi is scheduled to arrive at his Lok Sabha constituency at about 3 PM and leave for the Kashi Vishwanath temple after resting for an hour at the guest house of the Benares Hindu University.

After offering prayers at Kashi Vishwanath, Modi will visit the Kaal Bhairav temple, situated a kilometre away.

Modi will then leave for the Kashi Vidyapith University where he is scheduled to address his first public meeting in the ancient temple city during the ongoing Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

In what is likely to cause jitters to the administration and badly affect traffic in the city known for its congested streets, the Prime Minister's tour will be coinciding with a joint road show by Gandhi and Yadav.

The road show was postponed twice last month and is now being held with two more days to go for campaigning in the final lap of seven-phase assembly polls.

A 10 km-long route has been finalised by the district administration in consultation with the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) which provides security cover to both Modi and Gandhi.

The road show will commence at the Kutchery and conclude at Girijaghar--a church situated in Godaulia locality--close to Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples.

The SP-Congress alliance hopes to cause an upset in three of the five Assembly segments falling under Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency currently held by the BJP.

Fighting separately in 2012, the two parties had together polled more votes than the BJP in all the three seats, with the Congress finishing as the runner-up in two of these-- Varanasi South and Varanasi Cantt.

In Varanasi North, SP had finished third, behind BJP and BSP, and was followed closely by the Congress.

All the three seats--which cover almost the entire city-- are being contested by the Congress this time, while the SP is fighting the predominantly rural Rohaniya and Sevapuri.

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