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  India   Politics  20 Apr 2024  Rae Bareli: BJP may field Varun against Priyanka

Rae Bareli: BJP may field Varun against Priyanka

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANJAY BASAK
Published : Apr 20, 2024, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Apr 20, 2024, 1:46 am IST

The BJP had replaced Varun Gandhi with Jitin Prasada from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency

Priyanka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi.
 Priyanka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi.

New Delhi: With the possibility of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi contesting from the Gandhi bastion, Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, saffron corridors are abuzz with speculations that the BJP could field Varun Gandhi from this high-profile seat. The BJP had replaced Varun Gandhi with Jitin Prasada from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency.

After his replacement, talks of parleys between Varun Gandhi and Congress emerged, with some claiming that Congress was considering fielding him from Rae Bareli. However, sources close to Varun Gandhi revealed that the top BJP leadership was now contemplating making it a "Gandhi vs Gandhi" battle in Rae Bareli. When asked, BJP officials remained tight-lipped on the issue.

It may be recalled that recently, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and Rae Bareli Congress passed resolutions stating that the party should field "Priyanka or any other member of the Gandhi family" from Rae Bareli. Reports from UP indicated that some top Congress leaders, including Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, rooted for Varun Gandhi. "We will be happy if Varun Gandhi joins Congress. He is a tall leader and a well-educated politician. His image exudes transparency, and he has relations with the Gandhi family. We want Varun Gandhi to join the Congress now," Chowdhury told the media.

Meanwhile, as the BJP replaced Varun Gandhi, the party fielded his mother, Maneka Gandhi, from Sultanpur. While polling in Bareli is slated for May 20, Sultanpur will vote on May 25. Polling in the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency was held today.

It was learned that the party began sidelining Varun Gandhi following his alleged anti-party stand on various issues. In 2021, going against the party line, Varun Gandhi demanded the arrest of the perpetrators in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, where farmers agitating against the contentious farm laws were mowed down by a vehicle driven by BJP leader and Union minister Ajay Mishra's son. He also clashed with the Yogi government in UP following the suspension of the licence of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in Amethi. There had also been an influential section in the BJP targeting Gandhi, sources revealed. This particular section mounted pressure on the BJP high command to drop Gandhi and replace him with "any other candidate." Jitin Prasada, who was seeking to contest from Kheri, was brought in by the party to contest from Pilibhit.

Earlier, breaking her silence on her son being dropped by the party, Maneka Gandhi had said, "He (Varun Gandhi) was a very good MP, even issue-wise and for his constituency. But I am sure whatever he does will be good for the country."

As polling for the first phase kicked off this morning, a section of BJP leaders indicated that this particular phase "could be tricky" for the BJP in UP. It may be recalled that of the eight seats that went to polls on Friday, the BJP had won only three during the last general elections, namely Pilibhit, Kairana, and Muzaffarnagar. Samajwadi Party had won Moradabad and Rampur.

Tags: priyanka gandhi, varun gandhi
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh