Uttar Pradesh Congress wanted Priyanka Gandhi to contest polls from Varanasi: Ajay Rai

This comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Raebareli that had his sister Priyanka Gandhi contested the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, PM Modi would have lost by two or three lakh votes.

Published - June 12, 2024 03:34 pm IST - Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Congress President Ajay Rai. File

Uttar Pradesh Congress President Ajay Rai. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Rai on June 12 said the State unit wanted Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the party decided that she should campaign across the country.

This comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Raebareli that had his sister contested the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, PM Modi would have lost by two or three lakh votes.

The Congress had fielded Mr. Rai from the Varanasi Parliamentary seat. PM Modi defeated Mr. Rai with a margin of 1,52,513 votes. "We wanted Priyanka Gandhi to fight against Modi in Varanasi. But the party did not take a call on it because she had to move around the country during the polls," Mr. Rai told PTI Videos, in Lucknow.

Mr. Modi's victory margin this year was less than the 2019 and 2014 general elections when he won by 4,79,505 and 3,71,784 votes, respectively. Mr. Rai said the Congress along with its INDIA bloc allies will undertake a 'dhanyavad yatra' to thank the people for supporting the Opposition coalition. He also said that the INDIA bloc parties will fight the 2027 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections together to oust the BJP.

Mr. Rai said the BJP legislators and workers were in a "feel-good" mood and thinking that PM Modi is a brand name that will easily win the polls in Varanasi. "People and INDIA coalition partners made the saffron party sweat in Varanasi," he said.

The BJP, which romped to power in 2019 on the back of an unequivocal mandate from Uttar Pradesh, winning 62 of its 80 seats, was cut to size this time and had to be content with only 33.

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