Varanasi, April 24 (IANS) BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Thursday filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, and paid tribute to the “Ganga Yamuna tehzeeb (composite culture)” of the city.
Accompanied by close aide Amit Shah, and party leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Modi promised to improve the lot of the city’s Muslim weavers before filing his nomination.
Modi’s proposers included Justice (retd.) Giridhar Malviya – the grandson of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Madan Mohan Malviya – Hindustani classical singer Pandit Chhannu Lal Mishra, boatman Veer Bhadra Nishad and Ashok, who represented the weaver community.
Paying tributes to the Hindu holy city’s secular ethos, Modi said he wanted to see Varanasi become an internationally known spiritual capital.
“Nobody told me to come here, nobody sent me (to Varanasi),” he said, shortly before filing his papers.
“Mother Ganga has invited me… May she bless me. May God give me strength to serve (Varanasi’s) Ganga-Yamuna tehzeeb.”
Noting how he had helped Gujarat’s Muslim kite makers improve their lot, he said he would do the same for the Muslim weavers of Varanasi with modern technology, branding, designing and marketing.
He also pledged to clean up the Ganga, as he had done with the Sabarmati river in Gujarat.
“I thank the people of Varanasi for giving me so much love,” he said, at the end of a roadshow that drew tens of thousands of people in the city.
In a comment on Twitter later, Modi said coming to Varanasi was like coming back to his mother.
“My coming to Varanasi is like a child going to his Mother. I have come to this divine land on the call of Ganga Mata,” he tweeted.