Sibling rivalry appears to have taken an ugly turn within the Nehru-Gandhi Parivar. Yesterday, it was announced that the Congress party had decided to field Ajay Rai against Prime Minister Modi from Varanasi, ignoring the willingness Priyanka Gandhi had displayed on several past occasions to contest from the constituency.
Rahul Gandhi’s trusted aide, Sam Pitroda, sporting a pitch black beard with snow-white hair as an obscure fashion statement, said on Friday that it was Priyanka Gandhi’s own decision to not contest the elections from Varanasi. He said referring to the Congress president’s sister, “She thought rather than concentrating on one seat she should focus on the job she has at hand. So, that decision was her and she decided it.”
Sam Pitroda, Indian Overseas Congress Chief: It (not contesting from Varanasi) was Priyanka ji’s decision, she has other responsibilities. She thought rather than concentrating on one seat she should focus on the job she has at hand. So, that decision was her and she decided it. pic.twitter.com/65hTQurplT
— ANI (@ANI) April 26, 2019
In a twist of events, however, Rajiv Shukla, a senior Congress leader who is believed to be in the Priyanka Camp, differed completely with Pitroda regarding the series of events. According to Shukla, it was Rahul’s decision as Congress president to not field his sister from Varanasi.
Shukla said, “If you remember, she had said since day one that she wanted to fight in Varanasi and said that it was Rahul Gandhi’s decision ultimately. The Congress president decided that the former contestant Ajay Rai who had worked for five years must be given an opportunity to contest. She had said at every platform that the Congress president will decide who will fight.”
Trouble certainly appears to be brewing between the two factions. While we can only speculate who took the final call and what the motivations were, it appears for certain that the Priyanka Camp and Rahul Camp are at odds with each other.
There are two theories here. First, many believe that Priyanka would have been the fall person had she contested from Varanasi and after Congress’ imminent loss, the Rahul camp would protect Rahul and offer Priyanka as the scapegoat. The other camp believes that Rahul Gandhi is doing everything he can to ensure that Priyanka Gandhi does not outshine him, as that would not be a difficult task, considering the dud Rahul Gandhi has turned out to be electorally.
Either way, with the ecosystem peddling various reasons to shield the Gandhis, underneath all of it, there seems to be a fight brewing between Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and the only casualty would be the half-dead political fortunes of Congress.