Congress today put an end to speculations since few weeks over Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi contesting from Varanasi as party candidate, against Prime Ministser Narendra Modi. The party declared that Ajay Rai as its candidate from here. He also contested in 2014 polls against Prime Minister from here.
As Priyanka also herself expressed her readiness to contest from here, few weeks ago, it has generated lot of political heat. When some Congress workers asked her to contest from her mother’s constituency Reaberali, she questioned “why not from Varanai?” and thus given scope for lot of speculations over her contest. Later, she said that if the party chief (Rahul Gandhi) decides she is ready to contest.
However, finally the party has decided to keep her away from electoral politics this time. A five-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Rai also contested the 2014 elections and came a distant third by polling 75,614 votes as opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who won by polling 5,81,022 as against the first runner-up Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, who got 2,09,238 votes.
Rai started his political career with the BJP youth wing and had a decade-long association with the party before joining the Samajwadi Party. He then left SP to contest the Kolasla byelection as an independent and won. After the Kolasla constituency ceased to exist, in 2012, Rai won from the new Pindra constituency. In 2017, Ajay Rai contested the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections as a Congress candidate from Pindra but lost.