Priyanka Gandhi not to contest from Varanasi as Congress repeats Ajay Rai
New Delhi, Apr 25: Ending all the suspense over Priyanka Gandhi, Congress on Thursday fielded Ajay Rai once again from Varanasi for the Lok Sabha elections against Narendra Modi.
Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi and her brother Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, had dropped hints about a gigantic Varanasi clash ever since the 47-year-old joined politics in January, and was quickly appointed one of the two general secretaries in charge of the Congress campaign in Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state with 80 seats.
Her launch was aimed at galvanizing the party in a state that once gave the Congress many prime ministers but has over the years moved on to other big players.
Priyanka Gandhi was given charge of eastern UP, which includes Varanasi. While campaigning in UP, Priyanka Gandhi has often spoken about what she calls PM Modi's neglect of Varanasi as he roamed the world.
In 2014, the Congress had fielded Ajai Rai against PM Modi. He had finished third in the contest, after PM Modi and Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal, who polled around 2 lakh votes - way behind the Prime Minister's 5.8 lakh.
Nominations for Varanasi can be filed between April 22 and 29; the temple town votes on May 19 in the last phase of the national elections.