Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Monday denied media reports that she wanted to contest from Varanasi against BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi but was stopped by the party high command from doing so.
She reiterated that she would continue to focus on Amethi and Rae Bareli — the constituencies represented by her brother and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
“My decision to not contest (election) is personal. I will only change it when I feel from within that I should,” she said.
Stating that her brother Rahul has always encouraged her to enter electoral politics, Priyanka said: “My brother (Rahul), mother (Sonia) and husband (Robert Vadra) will wholeheartedly support me if I ever wanted to (contest)”, and said she was not inclined to do so. “I have always said my focus is Amethi and Rae Bareli, that remains unchanged,” she said.
The Congress also rejected the report of Priyanka’s desire to contest from Varanasi terming it “motivated and planted”.
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“Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the bedrock of support for her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her brother and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. She has defined her role to campaign in the two constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli and to ensure all round development in these two seats. Everything else is continuing speculation which we have rejected,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Priyanka, according to party sources, is playing a significant role behind the scenes in the party, bridging gaps and managing various aspects of the party’s campaign.
The BJP, meanwhile, took a dig at the Congress and its family-centric approach. “The family charisma has faded away. But a party which is merely a crowd around a family probably felt the current leader in the family has not clicked.The Congress party solution is, if one incumbent in the family fails, the alternative can only be another member of the family,” BJP’s Arun Jaitley wrote in his blog.