‘Contesting on SP or RLD ticket will give his vote share a big boost’.


NEW DELHI: Varun Sanjay Gandhi, a three-term Member of Parliament for Lok Sabha from the Pilibhit constituency of Uttar Pradesh, who has contested the last two elections on BJP ticket, could be planning to contest from Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) or Samajhwadi Party (SP), according to a source privy to the developments.
Sources suggest the change in the party could be because of several reasons, including his and his mother’s Maneka Gandhi’s exclusion from the Union government and the BJP executive. Varun, 41, has been taking a stand which is different from that of his party (BJP) on a number of occasions.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Varun Gandhi had changed his constituency once again and swapped his constituency with Maneka Gandhi.
While Varun contested the election from Pilibhit, Maneka fought from Sultanpur. Both of them won, however, neither was made a minister in the Modi cabinet. In fact, Maneka, who was a women and child development minister in 2014, was dropped in 2019.
Before the 2022 Assembly elections in UP, during the farmer protests, he had posted former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee video clip made in 1980, where in a speech Vajpayee is heard warning the then Indira Gandhi government against repressing the farmers and pledging his support to them. Varun Gandhi said in the tweet, “Wise words from a big-hearted leader.”
His statement against the party on the social media had not just embarrassed the BJP, but had also handed over more ammunition to its opponents. Later, Varun was dropped from the BJP national executive. Moreover, in 2013, then BJP president Rajnath Singh appointed him as the party’s national general secretary at the age of 33.
However, Varun fell out of favour when Amit Shah succeeded Rajnath Singh as president of BJP in 2014, and dropped him as general secretary.
Varun Gandhi had also nursed strong chief ministerial ambition, which was evident when he openly employed strategy of venting discontent ahead of the 2017 UP state poll.
A political analyst based in UP said, “The two Gandhis (Varun and Maneka) have their own vote bank in Philbit and Sultanpur, even if they contest as independents, they can easily gather more than 1 lakh votes each. There are still people who venerate Sanjay Gandhi. However, contesting on party ticket of SP or RLD will certainly give their vote share a big boost.”
The Sunday Guardian tried to contact Varun Gandhi, but did not receive any response.