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Modi files nomination from Varanasi, NDA stands in support

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on Friday.

Modi won the Varanasi seat in 2014 with a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes.

In an impressive show of strength, the entire top leadership of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was present at the nomination.

BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan and Piyush Goyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Assam Chief Minister Sarvanand Sonowal and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were among those present.

AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam were also present.

The Prime Minister, in a touching gesture, touched the feet of Akali Dal leader Prakash Singh Badal, one of the senior-most politicians in the country, and sought his blessings.

Union Minister Anupriya Patel said: “There is no doubt that the Modi government is returning to power with full force. The road show in Varanasi shows the kind of support that the Prime Minister has got from the people.”
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Paswan also reiterated that the NDA would return to power with a greater majority and asserted that the elections were a mere formality.

Jagdish Chaudhary, a member of the Dom Raja family, which helps perform the last rites at Varanasi’s Manikarnika Ghat, Subhash Gupta, a veteran BJP leader, and Nandita Shastri, the principal of a women’s college were among those who proposed Modi’s name.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister held a meeting with party workers in which he is said to have laid down the strategy for campaigning.

“All party workers must take it upon themselves to get the Modi app on the phones of all first time voters and ask them to look at the positive news surrounding our government,” he said.

“A pro-incumbency wave has been seen in country for the first time after independence. People across the nation are saying, ‘Fir ek baar.. Modi Sarkar’. Political pundits will analyze this pro-incumbency wave later,” he said.

He told party workers to respect all candidates contesting the elections as they are also part of the democratic process.

“Don’t get influenced by our fights in election rallies. No candidate is our enemy. They are all part of the democratic process. Respect them all,” he stated.

He added: “We need to break some records in Varanasi. I have always wished that a number of women voters’ turnout will be more than men. I couldn’t do this in Gujarat, but you can do it Varanasi. I have faith in you.

“Kashi has been won. Kashi was won by the party and party workers on Thursday night. Now, the polling booths are the only thing left to be won in Kashi.”

Modi then visited the Kaal Bhairav temple and offered prayers.

Varanasi will go to polls on May 19 in the last phase of elections.

Feature

Former A.P. Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao Commits suicide

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Hyderabad: Senior Telugu Desam Party leader and former speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly Kodela Siva Prasada Rao was declared dead at a hospital in Hyderabad on Monday amid speculation that he committed suicide. He was 72.

Mystery appeared to shroud the death of Rao as the exact cause of death was not immediately known and a senior police official told PTI that the matter is being investigated.

TDP politburo member Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy said Rao was reportedly brought to the Basavatarakam Cancer hospital by his staff. Rao, a medical doctor, has been a director of the Basavatarakam Cancer hospital.

 

Reddy said he and other TDP leaders visited the hospital after coming to know about the former Andhra speaker’s death. Rao’s daughter, who was present at the hospital, was in a state of shock, and they could not ask her what had happened, Reddy said.

Police investigation was on into the matter, he added.

Rao, who lost the Assembly elections in May this year from Sattenapalli in Guntur district, was the speaker of the Assembly during 2014–19. He was elected to the Assembly from Guntur district on six occasions.

He had been a member of the TDP since its inception and held key portfolios including home, major irrigation, panchayat raj, rural development and health, in the governments of TDP founder late N. T. Rama Rao and incumbent TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, state BJP chief K. Laxman and several other leaders condoled the senior TDP leader’s death.

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telegu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu has demanded a CBI probe in the apparent suicide of former Andhra Speaker and senior leader of TDP Kodela Siva Prasad Rao.

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