Varanasi: Rahul's "Made in Chandauli" tag gains popularity

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Varanasi, May 10: Varanasi elections this year are no child's play with Narendra Modi directly contesting with Congress's Ajay Rai and Arvind Kejriwal. With tension building with time,  Congress chooses the last day of campaigning to focus on the people here.

1.25 pm: Bismillah Khan's kin who were playing Shehnai at Rahul Gandhi's roadshow said they didn't endorse Rahul Gandhi or Congress. They said they could play the Shehnai for the BJP and AAP also.

12.40 pm: Rahul Gandhi garlands statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya at Benaras Hindu University.

12:30 pm: Rahul Gandhi's rally reaches Benaras Hindu University.

11:30 am: Shobha Oza said,"women of this country stand by Rahul Gandhi". Actor-turned-politician Nagma said,"the crowd is for Rahul Gandhi and not for us; nobody knows that we are here."

11:15 am: Ustad Bismillah Khan's family plays Shehnai for Rahul Gandhi during his rally.

11:05 am: One cannot win with just 60% Muslim votes: Experts on political expectations on Muslim communities in Varanasi

11:00 am: BJP mocks Rahul's roadshow as a farewell show!

10:45 am: BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi raised questions on the release of Mukhtar Ansari and his candidature. And as far as the rally is concerned, she said,"UP has already decided what it wants; these are just formalities that political parties have to do and that is what is being done. But, it is surprising how the EC could allow a murderer like Mukhtar Ansari to contest."

10:35 am: Rahul's convoy crosses Benia Bagh.

10:30 am: Paramilitary and security forces to keep the swelling crowd in order.; Rahul throws garlands at the crowd, shakes hands.

Under the line of fire, EC sent a senior IAS officer, Praveen Kumar, as a special observer for the Varanasi seat. He has been asked to be at Varanasi till the electoral process is over.  [Read full report]

9:50 am: Roadshow moving slowly. Party may target Dalits in remote villages and the Muslims here. Roadshow reaches Benia Bagh.

Meanwhile, EC finally listens to BJP and has sent a senior official to supervise the campaigns and the election here. Arun Jaitley said,"the roadshow is happening in the place where we were not allowed. EC should admit that the area was banned for us for political reasons and not for security reasons, which were not applicable for the other 3 parties. This will be a black spot in EC as the Prime Ministrial candidate of BJP was not allowed to campaign in his own bastion."

9:45 am: Significant number of minority votes in Varanasi and leaders are harping on that. Who really gets them is a question.

9:40 am: Unlike Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were allowed to have a rally trail. Ghulam Nabi Azad behind galvanizing the people. Congress party makes a statement on the last day of campaign.

9:35 am: Ghulam Nabi Azad challenges 'other' parties to start the rally at 7 am. "They start their campaign at 11 am after having a full night's sleep and we spend sleepless nights thinking about the people."

9:30 am: Questions raised at the people who have gathered. As in Narendra Modi's and Arvind Kejriwal's case, its is being asked whether the people here have been brought from other states.

9:00 am: Ghulam Nabi Azad says "Not happy with the time slot that we have got; rally will end at 11 am"; Rahul addresses the people at Varanasi. Scheduled to reach BHU at 11 am. The areas that Rahul may cross are strong Narendra Modi bastions. Huge turnout today.

Rahul's rally in Chandauli

Rahul refers to the rickshaw puller and talks about the poor health conditions and the way healthcare has become a business. He speaks of the manifesto campaigns.

2:15 pm: Lashes Modi for the snoopgate case; said Modi needs to give some respect to women and the nation.

2:10 pm:  Rahul picks at Modi's "60 years, 6 months" comments during his rallies. Says its a "we" government for us and not "I" government.

2:10 pm: I never speak with aggression; but look at them; they speak with anger. India does not work on anger.

Wish to give empowerment to women. UP govt has not allowed to pass the reservation in Parliament.

2:05 pm: UP government has taken the money of the weavers here. 15 crore people have been uplifted, now there is a new 70 cr batch, which needs to be uplifted. They will be given jobs in manufacturing corridors that we would open.

45,000 acre land was given away in charity at Rs 1 per acre to industrialists in Gujarat. What is Modi talking about when he says Gujarat model? With us, it goes to MNREGA.

2:00 am: The UP govt is not for all; but we are for everyone. Refers to Obama who said that he is scared of China and India as the youth in these countries wishes to work hard. I want everything indigenous.

1:55 pm: We will bridge the gap between the poor and the rich; pension for the poor elderly.

1:50 pm: We will look into three points: we will give the right to healthcare if we win these elections. UPA will provide you free healthcare and medicine.

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