Varanasi April 24 IANS | 6 months ago

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Thursday filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, paid tribute to the "Ganga Yamuna tehzeeb (composite culture)" of the city and promised improvement in its civic infrastructure.

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.

His 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 posted.

In a blog written to coincide with his filing nomination papers, Modi sought blessings of people, saying that he will restore the historical city to its prime and bring a sea change in lives of people in the Poorvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh.

He said the weaving industry in the city will be provided latest technology and incentives so that "weavers become our pride at world level".

Impetus to tourism will bring more tourists and enhance livelihood opportunities for the poorest of the poor, while he would address the issues of cleanliness in Varanasi so that citizens get a clean and green city.

(Posted on 25-04-2014)

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