oppn parties Priyanka Turns Tail, Not To Contest In Varanasi

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  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Priyanka Turns Tail, Not To Contest In Varanasi

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
From Sunil Garodia in Varanasi

As I reached the holy city of Kashi today, the first news I received was that the Congress had decided not to field Priyanaka Vadra against Narendra Modi from Varanasi. It had decided to nominate old warhorse Ajai Rai (who contested against Modi in 2014 too). When the news started doing the rounds that Priyanka might contest from Varanasi, I had written (Will Priyanka Smile Her Way To Varanasi) that the Congress will not field her.

The categorical assertion was based on two simple calculations. The first was that the numbers were against her in a three-cornered fight and if the alliance did not leave the seat for her, there was no way she could even put up a decent fight. The second was that the Congress would never field a family member from anywhere else but a safe seat where the chance of winning was more than 90 percent (for there are not many 100% seats left for the party now)

Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi indulged in a lot of play acting whenever the question of the former contesting against Modi was raised by journalists. But it was clear that given the massive support the BJP in general and Modi, in particular, has in Varanasi, there was no way Priyanka was to be made a sacrificial lamb. The Gandhi family does not work that way. Their scions are inducted in politics from safe seats and rare is a Hemavanti Nandan Bahuguna who can put it across the likes of Indira Gandhi.

The first family of the Congress does not believe in scoring points or pinning down star opponents to one constituency by fielding heavyweights against them. If the heavyweight happens to be a member of the first family, the Congress does not take any chance. What if the Scion gets depressed if he or she receives a massive drubbing? Who will carry forward the family name? Priyanka Gandhi will in all probability take over the mantle from Sonia if and when she retires from politics and will contest from Rae Bareilly in future.