Congress picks Ajai Rai for Varanasi constituency: Did prospect of shedding to Narendra Modi spook Priyanka Gandhi?

Four days in the past, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made a public declaration that she could be “happy to contest from Banaras” and the onus was on his brother Rahul Gandhi to offer her the chance to tackle Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his house constituency.

It was the second time that she had spoken about her potential candidature from Banaras. Prospects of a Modi versus Priyanka contest had spiced up media and public debates for round a month. The Congress, it appeared, was completely happy to maintain that suspense going. It was good publicity for the social gathering and in its knowledge, the information protection would make the BJP tense and jittery.

But, Thursday afternoon introduced within the anti-climax from the Congress, at across the time tv channels have been hooked on the preparations and extent of common participation for Modi’s late afternoon four-hour-long roadshow within the metropolis. It was clear from the media protection that the holy metropolis of Varanasi was all geared as much as give a rousing welcome to their MP and go away an enduring impression by way of these stay photos to the remainder of the nation that Modi nonetheless loved large help in his constituency.

File picture of Priyanka Gandhi. PTI

The timing of the Congress announcement that native chief Ajai Rai, and never Priyanka, could be contesting from Varanasi offers rise to a number of questions — whether or not the Congress had come to the conclusion that Modi’s electoral prospects could not be harmed in Varanasi; whether or not it realised that the social gathering could be placing an excessive amount of of its current and future at stake by fielding her as a candidate from the seat; whether or not a defeat by the hands of Modi would adversely influence her political profession and by implication, the fortunes of the Congress; whether or not Rahul acted as a protect by denying her a ticket or was performing towards his sister’s ambitions, and so forth.

It additionally raises a query whether or not Priyanka’s public declarations that she could be “happy to contest from Banaras” was a part of a carefully-crafted technique by way of which she could be portrayed to be a courageous and daring Gandhi scion who was eager to get right into a direct battle with India’s strongest man on her debut, realizing full effectively that that in spite of everything that sound and fury, Rai would in the end should take the mantle. Even when Priyanka was displaying buoyancy about Varanasi, one query that constantly figured in casual chats amongst individuals was: Given the sort of aura the Congress had constructed across the Nehru-Gandhi household, may it afford to have Priyanka, the one who is hailed because the social gathering’s ‘Brahmastra’ (weapon of final resort of Lord Brahma) lose her very first election?

If she had fought and received towards Modi, she would have created historical past and revived the Congress, however a defeat would have left an enormous dent in Priyanka and the Nehru-Gandhi household’s aura. The Congress’ politics and organisational buildings revolve across the first household, in spite of everything.

After taking it to such a excessive pitch, conveying a message that Priyanka’s candidature would peg again Modi to solely Varanasi, the Congress has given an entire walkover to the prime minister. The SP-BSP-RLD gathbandhan has up to now not named any candidate from right here.

Rai had earlier been within the BJP earlier than shifting to the Samajwadi Party in 2009 after which, the Congress forward of the 2012 Assembly elections. It ought to be famous that within the final parliamentary election, Rai as a Congress candidate may get solely 75,000 votes, round seven p.c of the whole votes polled. Given the temper in Varanasi, one can say that for all sensible functions, Rai has been made a sacrificial lamb by his social gathering. In the final election, Modi secured 5.81 lakh votes (57 p.c) and Arvind Kejriwal obtained over two lakh votes.

Now that Rahul has determined to not give Priyanka the chance she needed, it could be price realizing whether or not she is dissatisfied, anguished or secretly relieved.

BJP supporters have already begun saying that Priyanka fled from Varanasi after seeing the waves Modi was producing on Thursday.

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