Rahul Gandhi has refused to give clarity on whether his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will contest the election from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seat.
In an interview with The Hindu published on Thursday, Gandhi said he would not confirm or deny anything on the matter. When asked about Vadra’s possible candidature from Varanasi, he said: “I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing!”
So he was not denying it, the interviewer pressed. “I’m not confirming or denying anything,” said the Congress president.
With Priyanka finally making her political debut, the possibility of a high voltage contest between her and PM Modi in Varanasi has been the buzz for weeks. Last month, Priyanka Gandhi herself steered speculation towards the possibility during an interaction with Congress workers in Varanasi.
When she told the workers about her mother feeling bad she could not come down to meet them in Rae Bareli, they urged her to fight from the constituency. “Why not Varanasi,” she grinned, as reported by news agency IANS.
Priyanka’s statements came just a day after she told reporters that she was ready to contest the election. “If my party wants me to contest polls then I will definitely do so,” she said in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency.
Her husband Robert Vadra also responded to media questions about the Varanasi speculation. “Of course,” he said to questions on whether she could be a strong challenge to the Prime Minister. Robert Vadra has been a prime target for the ruling BJP because of investigations against him in land deals and money-laundering allegations.
Priyanka Gandhi’s three-day boat campaign ended in Varanasi, which was read by many as another clue that she had big plans for the holy town that voted PM Modi to parliament in 2014.
During her campaign, Priyanka Gandhi has often spoken about what she sees as PM Modi’s neglect of Varanasi as he roamed the world.
“I was stunned to hear from people in Varanasi that in five years, the PM didn’t get time to go to a single village, visit even one family in his constituency,” she said at a rally in Faizabad, accusing PM Modi of running a government indifferent to the poor.
If at all the Congress goes ahead with it, fielding Priyanka Gandhi in Varanasi would be aimed at confining PM Modi, the BJP’s top campaigner, to one constituency.
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