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Last stand at high noon

Rahul Gandhi’s caravan winds its way through a blizzard of party flags in Varanasi on Saturday. The roadshow started at 8.30am and took four hours to cover the 10km route. But Rahul’s last meeting of this election was 2km away at Chiraigaon, near Sarnath. Chiraigaon falls in the Chandauli seat from where a young Congress candidate, Tarun Patel, is contesting. Attendance at the 1.15pm meeting was sparse. (PTI picture)

Number of campaign meetings. Congress said on Saturday night data still being compiled

Narendra Modi wrapped up the “satisfying” season by meeting Atal Bihari Vajpayee and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat — the choices more or less reflecting Campaign 2014’s baptism of “development” and brush with less benign matters later. Modi tweeted that he sought “Atalji’s blessings”. He met Bhagwat and a few other RSS leaders for over two hours, presumably to discuss the road ahead. (PTI picture above shows Modi leaving after meeting Bhagwat)

Modi also found time to blog about the campaign, mentioning a “Jagad Guru” — a reference that should fill the BJP’s traditional constituencies with pride. “There is something in India’s soil that makes India specialů. Our destined role of a Jagad Guru calls us. Let us rise to the occasion and create a strong, developed and inclusive India that will show the way to the world,” Modi blogged.

The pronoun “I” was not missing, though Modi declined credit for himself and referred to “the guidance of the leaders of the party”. “I” cropped up in the 1,000-plus-word blog 31 times, “we” 11 times and “us” five times. Modi said he attended rallies and programmes at almost 5,800 locations, covering 3 lakh-plus kilometres since September 13, 2013, “when the responsibility of being the BJP’s PM candidate was given to me”. Modi said he attended 440 rallies in the campaign season.

Just in case anyone was wondering if Modi was keeping a painstaking count, he claimed that the statistics were based on what “friends in the party told me”.

How does he feel after such a gruelling season in the sun? “Conventional wisdom would suggest such a campaign would be tiring but I am experiencing a deep satisfaction and freshness that one would feel after a long and elaborate sadhna,” Modi blogged.

440, according to Modi

Mamata Banerjee hit the roads of south Calcutta on Saturday afternoon, switching from walking to a ride on a roof-less Mahindra Savari. The Trinamul leader covered 12km, starting out from Jadavpur, passing through Dhakuria, Gariahat, Ballygunge Phari, Hazra Mominpur and ended at Kidderpore. Traffic was held up at several places. Hundreds lined the roads, probably drawn by another attraction on the Savari: Mithun Chakraborty. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha shows Mamata and Mithun at Dhakuria

Around 115 Based on TMC schedules. Workers’ meetings Included

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was among those who felt the ripples of the last-day roadshows. The CPM leader was stuck in a car outside the party headquarters on Alimuddin Street when a roadshow by Trinamul’s Calcutta North candidate Sudip Bandyopadhyay rolled by. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya


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