Varanasi: A day before his nomination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a mega roadshow here, drawing massive crowds, before he culminated the show of strength with the Ganga aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Soaring the political temperatures, Modi was joined by BJP president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other senior BJP leaders in the temple town, on a day the Congress ended speculation over its leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting against the prime minister by announcing Ajay Rai's candidature.
"Grateful for the warmth and affection! " Modi tweeted after the commencement of the 7km roadshow, which passed through several parts of the city, including Lanka and Assi areas, amid cheering crowds, wearing saffron-coloured attires and showering rose petals.
Modi started his roadshow with the garlanding of the statue of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
The prime minister, who was wearing a saffron kurta and white pyjama along with a matching saffron scarf, waved at people lined up on the both sides of the road and jostling to get a glimpse of him.
Modi is on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency and is scheduled to file his nomination on Friday in the presence of NDA leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi, who contested from two seats -Varanasi and Vadodra in Gujarat - had defeated AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from here. Congress' Rai finished third.
The nearly 4-hour roadshow ended at the Dashashwamedh Ghat where Modi took part in the Ganga aarti along with Shah and the UP chief minister.
Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan are also expected to be present when Modi flies his nomination, BJP had said.