The Congress on Friday, 26 April, hit back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his jibe at Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not contesting from Varanasi, saying it shows that the BJP was scared over the possibility of her being fielded from the temple town in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress on Thursday, 25 April, fielded Ajay Rai from Varanasi to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ending speculation on a possible blockbuster electoral duel between Priyanka Gandhi and Modi.
"The finance minister is angry, the prime minister is dejected. He expressed his desperation today. This atmosphere of dejection is prevailing in the BJP," Congress spokesperson Rajeev Shukla said.
On Jaitley's remarks, he said it shows that they were "very scared that what if she comes".
"“If you remember she had made it clear from the first day that she wants to fight from Varanasi, but that the decision will be taken by the Congress president. It was the decision of the party high command and the Congress president.”" - Congress spokesperson Rajeev Shukla
Asked if the Congress general secretary will contest elections from any other constituency in the future, Shukla said she is currently working hard to strengthen the party in Uttar Pradesh.
"She is touring everyday, campaigning, doing road shows, addressing public meetings, meeting workers and meeting the people. Right now, she is focused on UP and after that in future what happens, we should wait for that," he added.
Priyanka ‘Chickened’ Out of Varanasi: Arun Jaitley
Taking a swipe at the Congress' decision of not fielding Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi, Jaitley, in a Facebook post, said on Thursday, "Obviously, she quietly chickened out of the contest. I am deeply disappointed with the Congress party's decision of not fielding Priyanka from Varanasi".
In a series of tweets, Jaitley said he was ‘disappointed’ by the Congress’ decision.
Deeply disappointed with the Congress Party’s decision of not fielding Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi. The last two months that she has been in the public life has driven home the point, “India has changed, dynasties don’t matter". Her exit from the contest shows what matters.— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
He then went on to state that he had hoped for a better contest for Varanasi in the ‘New India.’
I had only hoped that Varanasi will give the New India an opportunity to decide the fate of a tried, tested and successful leader as against a new political dynast.— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
In another blistering attack, he said that all the myths of Priyanka Gandhi have been debunked, using the proverb, ‘Band mutthi Lakh ki, Khul gayi toh Khak ki,’ meaning that a closed fist is worth lakhs, but worth nothing when opened.
The myths of Priyanka Gandhi stands demolished. India’s conventional wisdom has been ‘बंद मुट्ठी लाख की, खुल गयी तो ख़ाक की’. The Myth of ‘Priyanka will make a difference’ was worth a lakh. Today, the myth has lost its value.— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
He took a veiled attack on the Gandhi family by lashing out on the ‘juvenile’ behaviour of creating a cloud of suspicion over Priyanka Gandhi’s alleged seat.
It is only juvenile where a family lives under an illusion that people will accept it irrespective of politics which persuades you to build a climax of Priyanka taking on the Prime Minister and then suffering the wrath of the anti-climax.— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
He also stated that the obsession of ‘Humara Parivar’ (our Family) is not impressive to the ‘New India’ any longer.
Just repeating the same five sentences several times a day and not getting out of the obsession of ‘हमारा परिवार’ does not impress the ‘New India’ any more.— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
Adding to his earlier tweets, Jaitley also posted a video elaborating on how the Bharatiya Janata Party was looking forward to having Priyanka contest from Varanasi and is clearly not pleased with the fielding of the Congress’ ‘light-weight’ candidate against PM Modi.
He criticised the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi for the “fake build-up,” and said, “I was only hoping that this becomes a reality. New India does not accept political novices.”
New India rejects Dynasts and endorses Performers. ‘Hamara Parivar’ obsession of Priyanka Gandhi only shows the mindset of Congress Party. pic.twitter.com/21JZpNsaFb— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 25, 2019
Earlier, the Congress had told NDTV, that the chances of Priyanka being fielded from the Varanasi seat was “50-50”.
Rai had contested in Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal in 2014. He stood third with 75,614 votes, a fraction of Modi’s 5.8 lakh votes.
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