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Lok Sabha polls: Security tightened as all eyes on Varanasi ahead of final phase of voting

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 08:45

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

New Delhi: As the vast phase of campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections 2014 came to an end, the country started gearing up for the final day of voting set for Monday that would see the ancient city of Varanasi going to the polls.

The entire country has been waiting with abated breath to watch the battle for Varanasi, which has witnessed the most fierce campaigning, with the BJP`s Narendra Modi holding a roadshow in defiance of the Election Commission.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also held roadshows, in a last ditch effort to woo the people of Kashi.

Varanasi is the most talked about seat in General elections 2014 as Narendra Modi is pitted against the Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal and Ajay Rai of the Congress. Varanasi is one of the 41 constituencies that will go to the polls in the ninth and final phase of voting on Monday, May 12.

As the battle for Varanasi is going to be the mother of all political battles this election, security has been stepped up in Varanasi, with four thousand security personnel deployed to tackle the situation.

According to reports, 45 companies of para military forces, eight companies of RAF and two companies of PAC have been roped in to manage the security.

Also, each polling booth will be under the supervision of CCTV cameras.

There were also reports of irregularities in the voting list in Varanasi, as the name of the Vice Chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University (BHU)was missing from the list.

The fierce campaigning that came to end yesterday, saw a volley of vitriolic comments flying thick and fast with Modi reiterating the flaws of "baap-beta" government in Uttar Pradesh and "maa-beta" government at the centre.

In turn, Modi himself had to face a series of counterattacks from leaders across the political spectrum, including derogatory terms like donkey, being used by TMC`s Mamata Banerjee.

Holding a roadshow in Varanasi yesterday, Congress VP Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi over snoopgate, drawing flak over the slogans on Modi`s posters that said he would give power to women, as "he was the person sending police after women and tapping their phone in Gujarat."

Leaders across the parties have campaigned hard and left no stone upturned to woo the voters and even though opinion polls have repeatedly hinted at the BJP to be the highest vote fetcher, only May 16 has answers to all the crucial questions as it is the gala day when the counting of votes will begin.

Polling was by and large peaceful in the previous eight phases barring incidents of Maoist violence in Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The country registered a record turnout of voters, surpassing the previous record in 1984, as 66.27 per cent voting was reported in 502 Lok Sabha seats where polling has been conducted in eight phases that began on April 7. The 2009 elections recorded a 57.94 per cent turnout. 

First Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 11:19
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