A day after Narendra Modi's mega road show here, Congress on Friday made a fervent appeal to people of the holy city to support it in the "battle of ideologies" and reject the divisive forces. Union Minister and party leader Manish Tewari said the fight for Congress in this election is all about "protecting the idea of India" and asked people of Varanasi to defend its plurality and rich cultural tradition.
"It is a battle of ideologies.In this election, the fight is to protect the core values and ideology which have strong roots in Banaras," Tewari said addressing a press conference.
Modi was yesterday given a rousing welcome during a road show before he filed nomination for the May 12 election in which AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal is also a prominent contestant. The Congress has fielded Ajay Rai, a Varanasi local, who is an MLA from Pindra assembly constituency. Samajwadi Party's Kailash Chaurasiya is also a sitting MLA from nearby Mirzapur. Both Rai and Chaurasiya have already filed their nominations.
Asked about Modi road show on Thursday, Tewari said he was told that people from neighbouring areas were "brought" to the city.
"Varanasi has rich tradition and I do not think there will be any major impact of it (road show) in the election. I was told when Rai filed nomination large number of local people had gathered," Tewari said.
Asked about allegations of Rai's involvement in certain criminal cases, Tewari said the Congress candidate has already explained on the issue and there was no need for him to comment on it. Listing UPA's achievement, Tewari said it has created a "rights-based foundation for people of the country which will ensure welfare and protection of all sections. We are sensitive towards price rise. We took action against corruption. They (BJP) never talk about corruption in the states ruled by them. They do not look inward." Without naming Aam Aadmi party, he said those who were given a chance to run government in Delhi quit the responsibilities and asked people not to support such a party.
Replying to a question on attack on AAP leader Somnath Bharti, Tewari said it was a serious matter which should be condemned by all.
"In election, there is no place for violence. If somebody indulges in violence, the Election Commission should take action," he said.
Bharti was assaulted on Wednesday night allegedly by a group of BJP workers at the Assi Ghat area here when he went there to participate in an election related programme organised by a TV channel.