UP Minister Jitin Prasada has replaced Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit contest

Murshidabad (West Bengal):

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided not to field Varun Gandhi, the current Member of Parliament from Pilibhit, in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury extended an offer to the leader, asking him to join the party.

The senior Congress leader addressing the media here on Tuesday alleged that Varun Gandhi has been denied a BJP ticket due to his connection with Gandhi’s family.

“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.

The BJP on Sunday announced its fifth list of 111 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, dropping Varun Gandhi from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency and retaining his mother, Maneka Gandhi from Sultanpur.

Uttar Pradesh Minister Jitin Prasada, who crossed over from the Congress to the BJP two years ago, was named the BJP’s candidate for Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency.

Varun Gandhi, in his debut contest in 2009, won Pilibhit decisively with 4.19 lakh votes. His subsequent wins in 2014 and 2019 further cemented the family’s political dominance.

Mr Prasada, who was a minister twice in the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government and was considered one of Rahul Gandhi’s top aides, had lost two Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019 and was elected to the UP Legislative council in 2021.

Uttar Pradesh, which sends the maximum number of MPs, 80, to Parliament, will vote in all seven phases.

Voting for phases one and two will be held on April 19 and April 26. Next, the state will once again poll in phases three and four on May 7 and May 13.

The Uttar Pradesh electorate will also vote in phases five, six and seven on May 20, May 23 and June 1 respectively. Results of the elections will be declared on June 4.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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