Murmurs in Pilibhit over Varun’s absence from PM Modi’s rally

| | Lucknow
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Murmurs in Pilibhit over Varun’s absence from PM Modi’s rally

Thursday, 11 April 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

Speculations rippled through the political landscape as Varun Gandhi, the incumbent Member of Parliament from Pilibhit, was conspicuously absent from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Pilibhit, triggering debates about his rapport with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Varun Gandhi, a two-term Lok Sabha member from Pilibhit, has traditionally held sway in the constituency, much like his mother, Maneka Gandhi, who has clinched victory six times. However, eyebrows were raised when the BJP fielded Jitin Prasada instead of Varun Gandhi. Maneka Gandhi is contesting from the Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat this time.

Rumours regarding Varun Gandhi’s no-show at the prime minister’s rally swirled early in the day, prompting his supporters to clarify his absence. “Varun was not invited to this rally. He cannot share the dais with the prime minister unless officially invited. The party leadership ignored him, and he chose to stay away,” remarked Sanjay Agnihotri, a vocal supporter of Varun Gandhi, to this reporter.

Notably, the rally witnessed the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BJP state president Bhupendra Chaudhary, Pilibhit’s BJP candidate Jitin Prasada, and MP from Bareilly Santosh Gangwar, who was denied a ticket, alongside Bareilly’s current candidate Chhatrapal Gangwar.

The party’s decision sparked questions among Varun’s supporters. “If Santosh Gangwar could be invited, why was Varun ignored?” asked Agnihotri.

Neeraj Gangwar, another BJP worker, called for clarity on Varun’s status within the BJP. “Varun is a decent leader who understands the problems of the people. Many people voted for BJP only because of Varun,” he emphasised.

Leaders from the BJP’s Pilibhit unit clarified that neither Maneka Gandhi nor Varun Gandhi were listed as star campaigners for the Lok Sabha elections. They were not invited to campaign for party candidates in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies, including Pilibhit, scheduled for polling in the first phase on April 19.

Pilibhit has long been under the sway of Maneka Gandhi or her son Varun since 1996. Varun secured victories in 2009 and 2019 as a BJP candidate, winning by significant margins.

Renowned for championing issues concerning farmers, youths and unemployment, Varun Gandhi has occasionally diverged from the party line. His vocal criticism of the suspension of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital’s licence in Amethi and his stance on various issues have garnered attention.

In a poignant letter addressed to his constituents, Varun Gandhi reminisced about his childhood memories in the region, expressing how the land had become not only his workplace but also an integral part of his identity, with its people forming a crucial aspect of his life’s journey.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had extended an offer of a ticket to Varun after he was denied one by the BJP, adding another layer of intrigue to the unfolding political saga in Pilibhit.

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