Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a roadshow in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Modi is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi constituency on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. The prime minister will file his nomination papers on Friday.

The roadshow began at the Banaras Hindu University gate and ended at Dashashwamedh Ghat after passing through Assi, Bhadaini, Madanpura, Sonarpura and Godaulia, the Hindustan Times reported. The prime minister garlanded the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the university’s founder, before setting out on the roadshow, PTI reported.

A huge crowd thronged the streets as Modi’s roadshow began. Padma award winners, industrialists, musicians and artists also participated in the roadshow. “Grateful for the warmth and affection,” Modi said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to crowds during his roadshow in Varanasi on Thursday. (Credit: IANS)

The prime minister arrived at Dashashwamedh Ghat where he performed the evening rituals. The Ganga Aarti at the Ghat began before Modi could reach the venue. BJP chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam attended the Ganga Aarti along with Modi.

Modi will contest against Congress’ Ajay Rai in Varanasi, for which polling will be held on May 19. There were reports that the Congress may nominate General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi for the constituency, but Rai was named its candidate on Thursday.

(Image credit: IANS)

Other leaders of the National Democratic Alliance, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders are expected to be present with Modi during the filing of nomination on Friday. Leaders from the Apna Dal and the North-East Democratic Alliance, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan will also attend it.

Modi had contested and won from Varanasi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, securing 5.81 lakh votes. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal finished second with 2.09 lakh votes, while Rai was in third place with over 75,000 votes.

The results for the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency will be announced on May 23, along with those for 542 other seats around the country.