New Delhi: Congress general secretary and in charge of the party’s eastern Uttar Pradesh campaign, Priyanka Gandhi, on Wednesday, broke her silence on not contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that she did not “pull out of Varanasi”. She said it was a decision that her party took and she had to abide by that.
While campaigning in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi for her brother and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, in an interaction with NDTV, said, “From the start, I had said that I would do what my party says. My party decided this so I am going with that.”
After months of build-up, the Congress had announced last week that Ajay Rai, a local Congress leader, would contest again from Varanasi instead of Priyanka Gandhi. She also disagreed that the move sent out any “wrong signaI”.
She further said, “I took the advice of all senior leaders of our party and colleagues in Uttar Pradesh. They firmly felt that I have the responsibility here of looking after 41 seats. And all candidates expected me to campaign in their constituency. I felt that they (candidates) would be disappointed if I focused on only one place.”
Priyanka Gandhi was given charge of the Congress campaign in 41 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats in eastern UP.
The Congress has fielded Ajay Rai from Varanasi, who came third after Modi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The move has disappointed many Congress workers, who were expecting Priyanka to contest against Modi from the prestigious seat.