With 54 Assembly constituencies, including eight in Varanasi, going to polls in the seventh and last phase of UP elections, political parties have stepped up their poll campaigns in Varanasi which is the centre of faith for millions of people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the MP from Varanasi, is scheduled to be here on March 4 and 5 to campaign for BJP candidates.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has already spent two days campaigning and interacting with party workers.
On March 3, Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav, TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary will be in Varanasi to address a public meeting in Shivpur and are likely to hold a road show in Varanasi South Assembly seat.
Congress and AAP leaders are also expected to be in Varanasi for campaigning in the next three days.
The Varanasi South Assembly seat - a stronghold of the BJP for over two-and-a-half decades - is set to witness an interesting contest. The BJP had won the seat in consecutive elections.
This time, the BJP has fielded UP minister Neelkanth Tiwari and the Samajwadi Party has given ticket to Kishan Dikshit. The Congress and the BSP have fielded Mudita Kapur and Dinesh Kasaudhan,
respectively. Locals predict a direct contest between SP and BJP here.
"Unemployment is a major issue among educated youths. The BJP government could not create employment opportunities for them," said Pratish Kapoor, a student.
The BJP has also fielded two UP ministers - Ravindra Jaiswal from Varanasi North constituency and Anil Rajbhar from Shivpur Assembly constituency.
SP has fielded Ashfaq Ahmad Dablu against Jaiswal while Gularana Tabassum is Congress candidate from Varanasi North.
Anil Rajbhar is facing a tough challenge from SP-SBSP alliance candidate Arvind Rajbhar in Shivpur where the BSP has fielded Ravi Maurya.
The BJP has fielded Tribhuvan Ram on Ajagara (reserve) seat, where he is facing challenge from BSP's Raghunath. The SP-SBSP alliance has fielded Sunil Kumar. In Cantt, the Congress has fielded former Varanasi MP, Rajesh Mishra, and the BJP has given ticket to MLA Saurabh Srivastava, while the SP has fielded Puja Yadav.
In Rohania, BJP-Apna Dal(S) alliance has fielded Sunil, while SP-Apna Dal(K) has fielded Abhay Patel.
All major political parties, including BJP, SP, BSP, Congress and AAP have fielded candidates in all eight Assembly constituencies of Varanasi.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal(S) and the previous ally SBSP, had won all eight seats (BJP-6, Apna Dal-1 and SBSP-1).
"Leaders of all political parties know the importance of Varanasi in the politics of eastern UP is crucial. Therefore, leaders of different parties have to camp and campaign in and around Varanasi in order to woo voters," said Prof Ramesh Dixit, a political scientist.