New Delhi, Apr 14: The Congress may have declined any move to field her from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat but the idea of AICC General secretary for Uttar Pradesh East Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting for Lok Sabha polls seems to have tremendous support among the party workers who feel it could have a ‘morale boosting’ effect on the party cadres in the state, where the grand old party is fighting against odds to make its presence felt.
Reports that Congress could field Ms Vadra from Varanasi have been doing the rounds since the last couple of days. When asked on the issue, the party on Saturday said that it would not comment on hearsay and that media would be informed if any such decision is taken.
Addressing mediapersons at AICC headquarters, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, responding to a question in this regard, said, 'We don’t comment on hearsay. The party will let you know if any decision will be taken on it.'
According to a section of party leaders, Ms Vadra contesting the Lok Sabha elections from a seat in Uttar Pradesh will benefit Congress in the state as well as other parts of the country. In fact, party leaders and workers from Uttar Pradesh feel a decision by Ms Vadra to contest for the Lok Sabha elections will enhance the Congress’ poll prospects across the country. The reports of Ms Vadra contesting the Lok Sabha elections have been doing the rounds ever since she was made the General secretary for Uttar Pradesh East.
In fact, in reply to queries by reporters during her campaign meetings in the state, Ms Vadra has expressed her willingness to contest for the Lok Sabha elections if the party wants. Party leaders feel that a decision to field her, especially from the strategically important constituency like Varanasi , could strongly put forth a message among the people of the state that the party is fighting the election in Uttar Pradesh on the front foot.
It is notable that after being ignored by the BSP and SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress had announced its decision to go it alone in the state and contest on all 80 Lok Sabha seats. Ms Vadra's candidature would only bolster this message.Party sources said Ms Vadra's decision to campaign in Uttar Pradesh as well as other parts of the country is sure to improve chances of the Congress to oust the BJP from power.
Sources say that Ms Vadra taking on the might of PM Modi from Varanasi would enthuse the party cadres in the state, where the party has been reduced to being a fringe player in the last few years.
The best show by the party in the last two decades in UP was in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when the party managed to win 21 seats , out of 80 Lok sabha seats of the state.However, in the face of a strong Modi wave in 2014, the party was reduced to an abysmal two seats.
Though till now the party has remained non committal on her candidature, sources said the party top brasss is actively considering the idea of fielding her from Varanasi or Allahabad in an attempt to take the battle to the BJP in UP. In this context, political observers attach significance to a statement made by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Raebareli earlier this week after filing her nomination for the seat. Talking to reporters after filing her nomination from Rae Bareli , Ms Gandhi, when asked if she felt Mr Modi was invincible, said,’’not at all... Don't forget 2004, Vajpayee ji was invincible but we won":
"People of the country are fed up with BJP and Narendra Modi and they have made up their mind to replace him," she said.
If Ms Vadra contests from Varanasi, it will be the most-watched contest in the Lok Sabha election 2019, where a member of the Gandhi family will directly challenge the might of PM Modi, that too from Varanasi.
Though a final decision on her candidature from Varanasi would be taken only by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, political observers feel that she is best contender to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Political observers feel that with sharp attacks on Prime Minister Modi during her campaign in Utar Pradresh over the last month, Ms Vadra has established herself as an able contender against him.
PM Modi, who contested for the first time from Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, won by a massive margin of 3.70 lakh votes. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was the runner up, polling over 2 lakh votes. Congress candidate Ajay Rai got 75,000 odd votes.
Though taking on PM Modi on his home turf looks to be an impregnable task, many feel that Ms Vadra with her fresh appeal and her startling resemblance to her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has the ability to win the hearts of the electorate, thus posing a serious challenge to the popularity enjoyed by Mr Modi.
Party workers in Uttar Pradesh say that with her confident demeanour and ability to win the hearts of the common man, Ms Vadra reminds them of Indira Gandhi. In fact, they feel that she is the most suitable candidate to take on the might of PM Modi.
Fielding Ms Vadra from Varanasi is being seen as another of the major surprises from the Congress for the BJP in these Lok Sabha elections.
Congress has already surprised political pundits by announcing Mr Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad, in Kerala apart from the traditional bastion of Amethi.
Even Ms Vadra's entry into formal politics ahead of Lok Sabha polls was a surprise. Viewed in this context, the chances of Ms Vadra finally contesting against PM Modi cannot be completely ruled out. (UNI)