Vadodara: A tea vendor and a member of the city's erstwhile royal family are among the five people who proposed Narendra Modi's name as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate filed his nomination papers today as the party's candidate from Vadodara in Gujarat.
Mr Modi turned his drive down the four km route from Kirti Stambh to the district collector's office into a massive road show. Thousands of supporters in saffron Gandhi caps and Modi masks and holding big cut-outs of the BJP's lotus symbol and many party flags, lined the stretch and crowded Mr Modi's open jeep. (Watch video)
Mr Modi, in a flame red jacket, stood in the jeep waving to the crowds. Thousands of police personnel have been deployed in the city today. (India Votes 2014: full coverage)
At the collectorate, Kiran Mahida, a tea seller proposed Mr Modi's candidacy. As did Shubhanginidevi Raje-Gaekwad, an erstwhile royal. The BJP says that demonstrates the wide swathe of Mr Modi's appeal. A big portion of the Gujarat chief minister's election campaign for the country's top post has been built around his modest beginnings as a young boy who sold tea on trains.
"Mr Modi has decimated the difference between royalty and a humble man like me," Kiran Mahida said. "It shows any party worker will be rewarded if he just keeps working hard."
After filing his papers, Mr Modi said, "I started my political journey from Vadodara. I hope that all voters in Vadodara will on April 30 vote in large numbers for the BJP."
The Congress has fielded Madhusudan Mistry, a close aide of party number 2 Rahul Gandhi in Vadodara. (Candidate details) | (Schedule)
Even in a state that Mr Modi has comprehensively won over the last 12 years, Vadodara stands out as a BJP stronghold; the party had won the seat by almost 1.5 lakh votes in 2009. Six of the seven assembly segments in Vadodara are held by the BJP. The seventh was won by an Independent, who soon joined the BJP fold.
Mr Modi is also contesting a second seat, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Vadodara votes on April 30.