Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged victorious and has retained his Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, with the absence of a strong opposing figure culminating in somewhat of a no-show, though not unlike the 2014 Parliamentary elections when AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was also swept away by the Modi wave.
PM Modi has won the Lok Sabha seat with a massive vote-share of 63.62 per cent (67,3453), as per the Election Commission.
He was in the fray with Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party who has received a vote-share of 18.4 percent on the second spot and Ajai Rai of the Congress, who had ended on the third position with 14.38.
"I bow to the citizens of Kashi. Looking forward to serving them," PM Modi wrote to Twitter after winning the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.
Given the significance of the seat, mid-polls rumours had emerged that the Congress' General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could contest the seat. However, the speculations were put to rest as Congress fielded Ajay Rai, hours before PM Modi addressed a massive road-show ahead of his nomination-filing.
Vadra’s refusal to contest the seat by citing 'too much work' was also perceived as the Congress party accepting its defeat, in retaliation to which she said that it was a 'collective decision of the party' and pinned the blame on Congress president and brother Rahul Gandhi. After Priyanka Vadra, Samajwadi Party candidate ex-BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav's nomination was rejected by the Election Commission for not providing the information about his suspension from the government job. He had not submitted a NOC from the BSF to contest the polls. SP's Shalini Yadav, a daughter of Congress party leader Shyam Lal Yadav, contested her first-ever Lok Sabha election against PM Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 24 held a mega roadshow in Varanasi in the presence of a sea of people, taking his parliamentary constituency by storm, a day ahead of filing his nomination papers. Modi started his seven-kilometre roadshow by first garlanding the statue of Banaras Hindu University founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and later was cheered by a massive crowd as his cavalcade passed through the ghat areas of the city.
In the 2014 Parliamentary elections, PM Modi swept the seat by receiving 56.40% of votes and defeated Arvind Kejriwal by a by 3.37 lakh vote margin. PM Modi secured 5,16,593 votes against 1,79,739 votes of Kejriwal.
The 2014 Varanasi candidature was PM Modi's first electoral foray outside his home-state Gujarat and his first ever Lok Sabha election, having been the Chief Minister of Gujarat for 13 years before that. Along with Varanasi, PM Modi contested from Gujarat's Vadodara seat in the 2014 - managing to win it by the second-highest victory margin in the history of Lok Sabha elections. Varanasi is traditionally a BJP bastion, ever since 1989, and the Congress has held the seat only once, in 2004.