Congress party has finally decided to field a candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi. The Congress party has fielded Ajay Rai amidst the speculation that Gandhi scion and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be contesting against PM Modi.
Reportedly, Congress President Rahul Gandhi seems to have favoured a local strongman Ajay Rai over his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to take on PM Modi from BJP fortress Varanasi. Ajay Rai, a five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh had contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections against Narendra Modi from Varanasi as a Congress candidate. However, he was able to secure only 75,614 votes.
There were speculations that Congress party would be fielding Gandhi scion Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Varanasi. It seems that Congress party sensing a huge defeat for Priyanka Gandhi against Modi has backtracked the decision. The defeat for a member of Gandhi Parivar would be disastrous to the Congress party and also for the morale of the party workers. Hence, a decision not to field her against PM Modi seems to have been made after taking this factor into account.
The Congress and their media ecosystem were initially hoping that Priyanka Gandhi contesting against Narendra Modi would act as a speed breaker against the Modi juggernaut. The Lutyens ecosystem had already declared Priyanka Gandhi as a warrior and was also in a hurry to build up a contingency to project her as a brave woman who took against the might of Narendra Modi if she had lost from Varanasi against Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested from Varanasi for the first time in 2014 and had secured a massive victory over AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal with over margin of 3 lakh votes. By contesting from the ancient city of Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi had a civilisational point as Varanasi is considered a city of temples. Kashi, a city that rises from the feet of Ganga has been a symbol of Hindu faith for millennia.