Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is driving through Varanasi, the huge crowds providing a show of strength at a time when his party has alleged that the Election Commission wrongly disallowed him from holding a rally in the heart of his constituency.
Before his drive-through, Mr. Modi gave a searing speech on the outskirts of the city and alleged that his political opponent, the Congress, is behind what his party has described as “a ban” on his campaigning in Varanasi.
“The Congress must understand. The people have defeated you, the Election Commission can’t make you win,” Mr. Modi said.
The BJP has questioned the neutrality of the Commission. “Men in constitutional offices need to be bolder. Timid men can dwarf high offices,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
Along with other leaders like Amit Shah, he led protests against the Election Commission this morning at the city’s famous Banaras Hindu University.
The BJP had planned three Modi events today. While permission for the rally was denied, prayers on the banks of the Ganga and a meet with 150 citizens at a local hotel was sanctioned. But the BJP alleges the clearances came through at 2 am this morning, which forced them to cancel both programmes.