Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda on Friday said it was party’s general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s decision to not contest the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, reported ANI.
“It 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,” Pitroda said.
Speculation on Priyanka Gandhi making her electoral debut from Varanasi had been rife for the past few weeks and was fuelled after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to a question on whether he planned to field his sister against PM Modi, said last week, "I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing."
However, ending speculation of a possible blockbuster electoral duel between Priyanka and Narendra Modi in Varanasi, the Congress on Thursday fielded Ajay Rai to take on the prime minister. Rai had come third behind Modi and Arvind Kejriwal in the 2014 general elections.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mocked the Congress for their choice of the candidate from Varanasi, saying that he was “disappointed” by the party’s decision of not fielding Priyanka against PM Modi.
In a Facebook post titled ‘Refuge in Wayanad and a Refuge Away From Varanasi – The Story of a Family Dynasty’, Jaitley said, “The build-up of the last two weeks had been that Priyanka would be fielded against the Prime Minister. She rejoiced in giving daily bytes to the media that she was ready to take on the Prime Minister. Her brother (Congress President Rahul Gandhi) claimed that the party was building up the suspense for an eventual thriller.
“Obviously, she quietly chickened out of the contest. I am deeply disappointed with the Congress party’s decision of not fielding Priyanka from Varanasi,” Jaitley wrote in the Facebook post.