Rahul Gandhi pulls off massive roadshow in Varanasi
Gandhi started his roadshow from Gol Gadda Chauraha, passed through Peeli Kothi and Benia Bagh, where BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was earlier denied permission to hold a rally, and headed towards Lanka.
He stood in an open jeep wearing a Nehru topi with Congress colours and logo, waved to the people and requested them to vote for party candidate Ajay Rai with folded hands.
The Gandhi scion was musically welcomed by legendary musician Ustad Bismillah Khan's family who played shehnai for him.
The streets were flooded with people waving Congress flags, party supporters shouting slogans for the party and Gandhi.
Meanwhile, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Saturday slammed the Election Commission (EC) for allowing Gandhi hold a roadshow in Varanasi.
"How can the EC allow Rahul Gandhi to hold a roadshow in Varanasi while the same was denied to Narendra Modi (BJP's prime ministerial candidate)?" Jaitley asked.
"The roadshow is passing through the same area where we were denied permission. So it is clear that the EC ban was for political reasons and not security ones as was stated," he said.
Pertinently, Varanasi is one of the most keenly watched seats in the ninth phase of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where the main contest is among BJP's Narendra Modi, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajay Rai.
Saturday is the last day of campaigning in Varanasi before the polls on May 12.
The EC on Friday stood by its statement that there was security reason behind the decision to cancel Modi's rally in Varanasi.
"We had specific inputs that there was threat to Narendra Modi's rally," Election Commissioner HS Brahma said during an interaction with Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi.
Brahma, however, said that poll officials at the ground level should take prompt decisions and convey it to the concerned political parties.