The BJP-led alliance swept all the eight assembly segments falling under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency and this district. They retained three of the five seats in Modi’s constituency Varanasi by comfortable margins and wrested the remaining two from the Samajwadi Party.
In an electoral performance that may have surpassed all expectations, the alliance ended up winning three other assembly segments falling under Varanasi district, wresting two of these from the BSP and one from the Congress-SP combine. In the city, sitting MLA Ravindra Jaiswal retained Varanasi North, defeating former legislator and Congress candidate Abdul Samad Ansari by a margin of 46,000 votes.
In Varanasi (South), debutante Neelkanth Tiwari retained the seat for the BJP, belying fears of an upset after the party denied ticket to seven-time MLA Shyamdeo Roy Chowdhury. Former MP and Congress candidate Rajesh Mishra tried to put up a fight but lost by a margin of 17,000 votes.
Varanasi (Cantt) saw another successful debut, as Saurabh Srivastava won by a thumping margin of more than 60,000 votes to retain the seat that has been represented alternately by his late father Harish Chandra Srivastava and mother Jyotsna Srivastava.
The BJP sprang a surprise in the predominantly rural Rohaniya, where Modi had held his last election rally.
With its prospects bolstered with a tie-up with Apna Dal (Soney Lal), the party won the Kurmi-dominated seat by a huge margin of 57,000 votes. This was a far cry from the party’s position here five years ago when it had finished fourth.
The BJP’s ally Apna Dal (Soney Lal) tasted victory in Sevapuri, where it was the runner-up five years ago. The party’s Neel Ratan Singh Patel defeated sitting SP MLA Surendra Singh Patel by 49,000 votes. Modi had camped in his constituency during the last three days of electioneering, held roadshows and addressed several rallies to reach out to voters in the district.