"A senior district official said that while the rest of the programme had the approval of the authorities, Beniyabagh was a problem as an NGO has been given permission for an event the same day."
New Delhi, May 7 - BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was Wednesday denied permission to hold rallies in Varanasi, the party said, and sought removal of the city's poll official, alleging partiality.

The Bharatiya Janata Party alleged the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh had a hand in the decision to deny permission to Modi.

In a letter to the Election Commission, party leader Arun Jailtey said the poll official was verbally informed May 5 - about two rallies in Rohaniya and Beniyabagh. A formal application was sent May 6 -.

Rohaniya is a rural area on the outskirts of Varanasi, while Beniyabagh is a popular destination for political rallies in the city.

The effort of the returning officer is to prevent Modi from campaigning in Varanasi city, Jaitley said, adding the poll official had cited security reasons.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the Uttar Pradesh government has a hand in the denial.

It must be for the first time in Indian elections that a candidate is being denied permission to hold rally in his own constituency, Sitharaman said at a press conference.

The district administration is obeying some kind of order from the Samajwadi Party, she said.

Jaitley, in his letter, also said that 27 political workers were arrested while they were distributing pamphlets and were kept in custody for two and a half days, interfering in the party's campaign.

At a press conference in New Delhi, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party was making a request to the Election Commission to recall Varanasi District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav for working in a biased and prejudiced manner against Modi.

A few days back, the district magistrate had also asked Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal not to campaign in certain areas, following which the party alleged the officer was not working in a neutral manner.

The BJP earlier announced that the Gujarat chief minister would be spending May 8, 9 and 10 in Varanasi, the day campaigning ends.

A senior district official said that while the rest of the programme had the approval of the authorities, Beniyabagh was a problem as an NGO has been given permission for an event the same day.

Ajay Rai of the Congress and former Delhi chief minister Kejriwal are in the fray in Varanasi that goes to the polls May 12.


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