Decision to not contest is mine: Priyanka
There has been speculation in the media and otherwise that Gandhi-Vadra had wanted to take on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat but the party leadership overruled since it could have led to ‘undesirable’ comparisons with her bother Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice-president who is leading party’s campaign in the ongoing polls.
Issuing a statement to the media, Priyanka claimed her focus was to help her mother and brother. She said: ‘No one in my family would ever stop me from contesting an election. My brother, mother and husband would whole-heartedly support me if I wanted to contest.’
Playing down speculations over sibling rivalry with her brother Rahul Gandhi, the statement said: ‘My brother has expressed to me many times that he thinks I should contest. My decision to not contest is personal. I will only change it when I feel from within I should.’
Howecer, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that the report confirms the ‘Gandhis are under siege.’ He added, ‘The family charisma has faded. The real solution to the problem is to make the Congress a more structured party. The Congress party solution is, if one incumbent in the family fails, the alternative can only be another member of the family.’ In a lighter vein, BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, ‘Priyanka Gandhi should have contested from Varanasi. Her husband Robert Vadra should have contested from Vadodara (the other seat from where Narendra Modi is contesting). ‘