Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Dropped By BJP, Varun Gandhi’s Emotional Note To Pilibhit

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Varun Gandhi is a two-time MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh (File).

New Delhi:

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Varun Gandhi – not picked to defend his Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit – has written to the people of his soon-to-be former constituency to say that “even though my tenure is coming to an end… my relationship (with you) cannot end till my last breath”.

Mr Gandhi also said he considered himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to “serve the great people of Pilibhit”, and that their “ideals, simplicity, and kindness… had a huge contribution in my upbringing and development”. “Being your representative has been the greatest honour of my life, and I have always championed your interests to the best of my ability,” the BJP leader said.

“If not as an MP then as a son, I am committed to serve you throughout my life and my doors will always remain open for you… as before. I came into politics to raise the voice of the common man, and today I seek your blessings to always continue doing this work, no matter the cost,” he said.

Varun Gandhi also touched an emotional note in his letter, recalling his introduction to Pilibhit – as a three-year-old boy visiting with his mother, Maneka Gandhi, in 1983.

“… I remember that three-year-old boy who came to Pilibhit for the first time in 1983, holding his mother’s finger. How could he know that one day this land would become his workplace, and the people here would become his family?”

varun gandhi letter to pilibhit

Outgoing BJP MP Varun Gandhi’s open letter to the people of UP’s Pilibhit.

“The relationship between Pilibhit and me is one of love and trust… which is far above any political multiplication. I was, am, and will be yours…” Mr Gandhi concluded.

Varun Gandhi is a two-time MP from Pilibhit, which has been a family affair since 1989, when it was won by his mother, Maneka Gandhi. A noted environmental activist and former Union Minister, Mrs Gandhi is a six-time winner of the seat, including back-to-back wins as an independent candidate.

In the 2019 election Mr Gandhi thumped Hemraj Verma of the Samajwadi Party by more than 2.55 lakh votes. This time around, though, the BJP has opted to ditch the Gandhi name entirely.

However, in recent years Mr Gandhi, 44, has been critical of his own party’s government and policies. In September last year, for example, he slammed the BJP over the import of cheetahsfrom Africa. The remarks came after nine cheetahs died in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park in just five months.

On X, he tagged a news report on more cheetahs being brought to India and said, “Importing cheetahs from Africa and allowing nine to die in a foreign land is… an appalling display of negligence.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party – bidding for a third consecutive term at the centre – has fielded former Congress leader Jitin Prasada from Pilibhit. He will contest against the Samajwadi Party’s Bhagwat Saran Gangwar, who will be the joint candidate of the INDIA opposition bloc.

READ | UP Minister Jitin Prasada Replaces Varun Gandhi In Pilibhit Contest

It is unclear if Mr Gandhi will be fielded from any other seat in this election, or if he will even remain with the BJP now. He does, though, have an invitation from the ‘enemy’ – the Congress.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has offered a place in the party, claiming the BJP had nixed Mr Gandhi’s ticket because of his connection to the Gandhi family; he is Rahul Gandhi’s cousin.

READ | “Has Clean Image”: Adhir Chowdhury Wants Varun Gandhi In Congress

“He should come here. We would be happy. He is an educated man. He has a clean image. BJP denied him a ticket because he is related to the Gandhi family. I think he should come (to Congress),” the Congress leader said.

UP is a key state in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election with 80 seats on offer. A clean sweep, or at least a strong showing, is essential if the BJP is to achieve its goal of 370+ seats on its own.

The opposition will consist of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party of former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav; the two have agreed a 17-63 split of the state’s seats.

UP will vote in each of the seven phases of the 2024 election, starting from April 19 and ending on June 1. The results will be declared on June 4.

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