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Modi, Adityanath popularity on test in Varanasi, Gorakhpur

IANS  |  Varanasi/Gorakhpur 

As the ongoing polls move towards a finale, the biggest battle will take place in the seventh and last phase of the elections in

The final phase will put to test the popularity of in and the prestige of in

Although there is no doubt about the result of the seat, the question is mainly about the margin of victory for the

Modi had won the 2014 elections with a margin of 3.37 lakh votes against his nearest rival, (AAP) convenor

This time Modi is facing of the as his main rival. Rai had forfeited his deposit in 2014

With the Modi wave abating in eastern and caste arithmetic taking over, the is determined to increase the victory margin.

"This time will double his margin and we are all working towards this. There should be no complacency in mobilising voters. He has changed the face of and the development is there for all to see," said Vijay Bahadur Pathak,

arrived in Varanasi on Monday evening and will station himself in the constituency for the next four days. He will meet party workers and give necessary instructions for the polling day.

He will campaign in various constituencies during the day and will return to Varanasi in the evening to take stock of the progress.

In Gorakhpur, it is Adityanath's prestige at stake. The seat has been with the BJP since 1991 but in the by-election in 2018, the BJP lost the seat to

Winning back the seat from the SP is now the BJP's biggest challenge in this phase. Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan, who is the BJP candidate from Gorakhpur, is banking solely on the popularity of Modi and Yogi to win the seat.

Adityanath, whose political future depends largely on the result of and, of course, the rest of the state, has been campaigning for He has held more than 20 election meetings in the city.

"I am here to take care of development and for entertainment, you can depend on Ravi Kishan," the says in his rallies. takes the cue and play to the gallery with his popular dialogues. He earns applause when he talks in Bhojpuri and says, "Zindagi jhand ba, mahagathbandhan ka moonh band ba".

The caste arithmetic in Gorakhpur, however, does not favour Ravi Kishan, a Brahmin. The Brahmin-Thakur war in the region has escalated in recent months with erstwhile mafia don and a tall Brahmin leader, Hari Shankar Tiwari, being targeted by the

Tensions between the two castes have increased further after outgoing beat up party Rakesh Baghel, a Thakur, with shoes during an official meeting.

The has fielded who will cut into Brahmin votes.

The SP has fielded The Nishad vote in the constituency is around 4.5 lakhs and the Nishad are upset with the BJP for denying tickets to who had won the by-elect last year and had recently joined the saffron party.

Another Nishad leader, Amrendra Nishad, had also quit the SP to join BJP but was denied a ticket.

Muslims in the constituency are about 3.5 lakhs and Dalits have a population of 3 lakhs.

With the BSP supporting the SP candidate and Muslim consolidation against the BJP, the road for the BJP is not exactly smooth.

The constituencies that will go to the polls on May 19 are Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Kushi Nagar, Deoria, Bansgaon, Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Robertsganj.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 11:20 IST