New Delhi: Sidelined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi is likely to join the Congress before the 2019 Lok Sabha. According to some Congress leaders, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is Varun’s first cousin and is considered close to him, may prove to be helpful in bringing the young BJP leader into the grand old party’s fold.
Varun is the son of late Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi, the younger brother of Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi’s father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Sultanpur MP is the first cousin of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka. Congress leaders say Rahul will take the decision on Varun after he becomes the party president.
Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh believe that Rahul and Varun will join forces before the next general elections pointing out that the latter has been sidelined in the BJP for speaking his mind.
Local Muslim leader Haji Jameeluddin told India Today that Varun Gandhi was being ignored by the party as no one was allowed in the BJP to speak his/ her mind except Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said a sizable section of supporters wanted Varun to be Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister after the party’s resounding success in assembly polls earlier in 2017, but their calls were ignored.
Varun enjoys significant political clout in Pilibhit and Lakhimpur-Kheri region of Uttar Pradesh and may prove to be a boon for the Congress – if he agrees to join it.
However, his joining the Congress might not be an easy ask as his mother Maneka Gandhi is the Union Women and Child Development Minister in the Narendra Modi government and has an acrimonious relationship with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.