Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will not contest from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this national election. The Congress today named as its Varanasi candidate Ajay Rai, who placed third in the 2014 election.
The announcement, on a day PM Modi begins a mega roadshow in Varanasi as a prelude to filing his election papers tomorrow, effectively ends all speculation about a giant clash in the temple town.
The Congress reportedly debated pitting Priyanka Gandhi, often called its “Brahmastra“, against PM Modi but caution won out.
Last week, Rahul Gandhi, to a question on whether he planned to field his sister against PM Modi, told The Hindu newspaper: “I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing.”
In 2014, Ajay Rai finished a poor third in Varanasi, with only 75,000 votes. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal came second with around two lakh votes. None of them came anywhere close to the Prime Minister’s 5.8 lakh.