Modi Flexes NDA Muscle While Filing Nomination From Varanasi

Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nomination-filing event in Varanasi on Friday turned out to be an NDA show of strength.

The presence of almost all senior NDA leaders, including Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, worked as a good optics and sent a signal to the Opposition that the entire rank and file of the NDA stood rock solid behind the leadership of Narendra Modi.

Modi personally greeted each and every leader present. The gesture did not go unnoticed, as it conveyed an important message to NDA partners. In March last year, N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP had walked out of the NDA, serving a major blow to the unity of the alliance and t appeared that the NDA was in tatters. Modi appeared to have managed to silence critics who doubted the NDA’s survival.

A sea of humanity descended at the collector’s office where NDA leaders gathered for Modi’s nomination-filing ceremony.

None of the UPA leaders, in contrast, had attended the nomination-filing event of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, neither in Wayanad, Kerala, nor in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.

The presence of top NDA leaders in Varanasi on Friday was also an attempt to expose the mahagathbandhan of the Opposition, led by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and lay hollow talks of unity in the Opposition camp, political analysts said.

After filing his nomination papers, the Prime Minister greeted BJP president Amit Shah and bowed down to touch the feet of the 91-year old Shiromani Akali Dal chief Prakash Singh Badal. He also greeted Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan.

With his presence, Uddhav Thackeray put at rest speculation about the Shiv Sena developing cold feet towards the NDA. Thackeray had recently said he supported Modi because of his strong stance against India’s arch-rival Pakistan.

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