Indian Express

Modi absent from Varun’s campaign, as is largely any BJP mention

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Varun has not bothered to visit the local offices of the RSS and BJP since declaration of the election schedule. (Reuters) Varun has not bothered to visit the local offices of the RSS and BJP since declaration of the election schedule. (Reuters)

The BJP may believe there is a Modi wave in the country, but not Varun Gandhi. The party candidate from Sultanpur in UP didn’t mention Narendra Modi or any other BJP leader once in the series of nukkad meetings he held in his constituency over the past three days, ending Saturday.

The slogans hailed only Varun once he was present at the meetings, while the posters put up to welcome him featured just him and mother Maneka Gandhi. If some BJP workers did shout “Modi zindabad” slogans, it was before Varun arrived for the corner sessions.

At a meeting at night in the Chowk area of Sultanpur, one of his three attended by The Sunday Express on Friday, Varun projected father Sanjay Gandhi as his role model. “Main rajneeti me saamanya parivaron ke logon ko vaise hee launga jaise mere pitaji laaye the (I’ll bring people from ordinary families into politics just like my father had done),” he said.

Varun has not bothered to visit the local offices of the RSS and BJP since declaration of the election schedule. Local workers admit to being confused. Says Anand Dwivedi, the party in-charge of membership in the district, “I have attended most of his meetings here. I have never heard him mention Modiji and other party leaders. We are not happy with it, but we are working for him as dedicated workers to see Modiji as the next PM.”

Avdhesh Kumar Singh, an office-bearer of RSS subsidiary Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, agrees. “We do not know Varun Gandhi; it does not matter to us who is the candidate. We don’t like his style of ignoring Modiji and other leaders, but we will work for him.”

Varun’s men have also had run-ins with local BJP workers. Says a BJP leader who accompanied Varun during his visit to the constituency,

“Earlier he would not even acknowledge local party leaders. Now he has started acknowledging them realising that his Delhi team will not be effective.”

An RSS pracharak of eastern UP confirmed that the Sangh’s Sultanpur swayamsevaks had been complaining against Varun’s style. With matters threatening to reach a head, Varun addressed a coordination meeting organised by the RSS on Friday evening at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in the city. Sources said he promised to work together as a team.

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