It is official. Ruling out the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi being fielded against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi parliamentary constituency in the coming election, the Congress party on Thursday named Ajai Rai as its candidate from there. Rai had finished a poor third in the previous election in Varanasi in 2014 getting 75,000 votes behind Arvind Kejriwal who secured two lakh votes and the winner Modi who bagged 5.8 lakh votes.
There had been intense media speculation in recent weeks about the possibility of Priyanka, the party’s General Secretary, of contesting in Varanasi in this national election. Priyanka herself had told the media a few days ago that she would be willing to contest in Varanasi if her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi asked her to do so.
Last week, Rahul Gandhi, to a question on whether he planned to field his sister against Modi, told The Hindu newspaper that "I will leave you in suspense. Suspense is not always a bad thing."