Priyanka Gandhi to visit Varanasi amid speculations of her candidacy against PM Modi

Newly appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who would be embarking upon a four-day visit to Uttar Pradesh before the end of the month, would also be touring Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Her visit comes amid a demand by the Congress cadres, seeking her candidacy against the PM in the upcoming general elections.

Prakash Joshi, All India Congress Committee secretary, UP, said Priyanka’s visit to Kashi would further energise the party workers, who are eager to stage a comeback in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP, however, downplayed her planned visit to Varanasi, claiming that it will have no detrimental effect on the electoral prospects of the ruling party. “After visiting Kashi, she would realise how Modiji has transformed this constituency. She would realise that this government has performed way better than her family,” a BJP leader told reporters.

Notably, Priyanka was appointed as the Congress’ general secretary last month — as soon as she made her official entry into the party. The youngest Gandhi scion was assigned as the in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh — the region which accounts for nearly 41 seats in the Lok Sabha.

Priyanka Gandhi and the Congress general secretary in-charge of west Uttar Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, wrapped up a four-day visit to the state on February 14, during which they had marathon meetings with party leaders and workers from different constituencies.

While Priyanka Gandhi has 41 Lok Sabha constituencies under her charge, Scindia will look after 39 seats.

In her meeting with party leaders from Varanasi, Priyanka Gandhi sought feedback of development works carried out at the Prime Minister’s initiative for the past five years.

This is the first time that Priyanka Gandhi has stepped out of the family bastion of Rae Bareli and Amethi. She is expected to make organisational changes in Uttar Pradesh in the next few days. There are two views in the party about the proposed reshuffle. While one view is that there should be two state chiefs for east and west UP, another line of thinking is that there should be one state chief and two working presidents for both regions.