His supporters consider him a “god.” Modi is running for a parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially submitted his nomination papers for a parliamentary seat in Varanasi, his main stronghold in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday, amid a crowd of his Hindu supporters who consider him a “god” for the region.

Live television scenes showed Modi presenting his candidacy documents in the local court, in front of which hundreds of his cheering supporters gathered. “I swear to protect the Constitution of India,” Modi said after submitting his candidacy.

A Hindu Sufi who was with the Indian Prime Minister when he received his nomination papers said, “Modi is like a god to the people of Varanasi. The country is a priority for him, unlike other politicians.”

Farmer Jitendra Singh Kumar (52 years old) said while waiting for the Indian Prime Minister to leave, “It is an opportunity for us. Modi represents our constituency in Varanasi.”

The leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which is seeking a third term at the head of the country, submitted his candidacy as a representative for Varanasi (formerly Benares) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is one of Modi’s main strongholds.

The Prime Minister, who made Hinduism an essential part of his term, spent the morning visiting temples and praying on the banks of the Ganges River, sacred to Hindus.

The previous day, tens of thousands of people waited in the holy city of Hindus in the intense heat for hours to see the Prime Minister, whose popularity is still at its highest levels in Varanasi, whose streets were filled with his supporters who came waving saffron flags, the traditional color of Hindus.

Political analysts expected him to win easily even before the elections began on April 19. Nearly one billion Indians were invited to participate in the general elections that end in early June, with the results to be issued 3 days after the end of voting.

Modi won two landslide victories for his well-known Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014 and 2019, by playing on the religious chord among Hindu voters.

The opposition and human rights defenders accuse the government under Modi of causing a decline in democracy, and criticize its adoption of Hinduism in India, which has a population of 1.4 billion, at the expense of large minorities, including 220 million Muslims who are worried about their future.

The opposition complained to the electoral authorities, but the latter did not take punitive measures against the Prime Minister of India, a state that is secular under the constitution and whose electoral law prohibits any campaign based on “sectarian sentiments.”