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General election 2019: Why Priyanka Gandhi didn't contest from Varanasi?
Finally, the Congress cleared the air that Priyanka Gandhi will not be contesting against Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Many journalists and activists have expressed frustration over Congress' decision. According to them the message hasn't gone well and may be benefiting for the BJP. But the question is why Priyanka Gandhi backed out?

It's an open secret that at the moment Narendra Modi is invincible in Varanasi. This is well known to both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. But then, a high-pitched contest would have helped a lot in Congress' revival. Smriti Irani had lost to Rahul Gandhi in 2014. But the way she had contested from Amethi reducing the winning margin of Rahul Gandhi had enhanced the credibility of Irani rather than Rahul Gandhi's.

Thus, even if Priyanka Gandhi would have lost Varanasi but reduced the winning margin of Narendra Modi that would not only have enhanced the credibility of Priyanka Gandhi but could have also revived the lost motivation amongst the Congress workers throughout the country. That might be the game plan of the Congress while hinting that Priyanka might have contested against Narendra Modi.

However, the Congress expected that the MGB could have supported Priyanka Gandhi at least from Varanasi seat. That's why perhaps the Congress waited a lot to get support from Mayawati as well as Akhilesh. Until the last moment MGB leaders didn't extend any cooperation to Priyanka Gandhi's wish to contest from Varanasi.

I think MGB leaders had their own political compulsions. If Priyanka Gandhi had contested from Varanasi as a united opposition candidate, then contesting against incumbent Prime Minister would have increased her stature in UP's politics. This could have damaged MGB's prospect in two ways. First, the Congress would have been seen as challenger to the BJP which would have excited the Congress workers throughout UP and increased the vote share of the Congress which in turn could have been damaging for MGB's prospects. Then, a direct contest with Modi means Congress' right to automatic claim to head a non-BJP government at the centre (in case it's possible) is against Mayawati's wish. That's why perhaps MGB didn't extend any support to Priyanka Gandhi.

But I think that the Congress should have fielded Priyanka Gandhi if it was eying UP assembly election 2022 or general election 2024. Contesting from Varanasi always has a ripple effect on eastern UP and western Bihar. In case there's a hung Parliament with the NDA not being able to form a government, and neither the Congress is allowed to lead the government, it would have been just a matter of a year or two when there would be another mid-term general election. In that situation Congress could have reaped higher dividends.

One of my friends gave an interesting logic. According to him, Rahul Gandhi intentionally didn't field Priyanka Gandhi because the Congress is not going to win the 2019 general election. In that case, the responsibility would fall upon Rahul Gandhi as President of the party. If Priyanka would have contested against Narendra Modi, then she would have become an alternative to Narendra Modi as Prime Minister as well as an alternative to Rahul Gandhi as the Congress President post 2019 general election. Party workers could have demanded replacing Rahul with Priyanka Gandhi arguing that she has fought against Narendra Modi.

I didn't agree to his logic because of peculiar nature of proposition, but then considering the merit of the point, I didn't disagree either.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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