To save Maneka’s turf, Varun Gandhi may not enter the LS contest

Niraj Sharma
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Varun Gandhi Maneka Gandhi

Varun Gandhi (Left); Maneka Gandhi (Right)

New Delhi: Days after denial of ticket by the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency, Varun Gandhi is not likely to enter the poll contest.


The doubts about the filing of Varun's nomination come even after strong speculation over the past few days that he might consider fighting the forthcoming polls as an opposition-backed candidate. Sources stated that Varun is not likely to contest and would instead focus on his mother Maneka Gandhi's election campaign in Sultanpur.

It is understood that the decision was “forced” as Varun doesn’t want to spoil the chances of a possible ticket withdrawal or complication of poll prospects for his mother.

The “tactical withdrawal” of Varun Gandhi from the Lok Sabha electoral contest is expected to ensure the political survival of the family as at least one person from the family is expected to be elected to the lower house of Parliament, sources said.


The BJP had recently denied an electoral ticket to Varun citing the ‘one family-one ticket’ formula. Newsdrum had earlier reported that the saffron party was contemplating the implementation of one family-one ticket formula in the ticket distribution for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Sources had pointed out that Maneka and Varun were the only examples in the entire country of a mother and son becoming Lok Sabha MPs from the BJP. In keeping with the policy decision, Varun's name was removed from the saffron contestant's list.

Many in the BJP feel that Varun had ruined his chances of securing a BJP ticket after he repeatedly and publicly raised questions on the policies of the Narendra Modi government.


Over the past few days, there was also speculation in the political corridors that as the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh are scheduled to be held in seven phases, Varun could have been fielded by the opposition in a later phase after the polls for Maneka Gandhi’s constituency were over. As the INDIA bloc leadership is still considering the option of fielding Varun from some other constituency, sources pointed out.

However, with the Sultanpur constituency, from where Maneka is contesting on the BJP’s ticket, scheduled for polls in the sixth phase on May 25, the chances of Varun playing a game of one-upmanship with the BJP don’t seem likely. “As the political fate of Maneka would be hanging in balance till the sixth phase, any move on the part of Varun to ally with the opposition camp would be detrimental for his mother’s fortunes,” sources pointed out.

Pilibhit is scheduled to go for polls in the first phase on April 19 and is considered a stronghold of the Maneka Gandhi family. She became MP from here for the first time in 1989 on Janata Dal’s ticket and has represented the constituency six times. In 2019, she had left the seat for her son Varun, who is the sitting MP from the seat.

Uttar Pradesh has been electing the largest number of BJP MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2014 and 2019. And the saffron party is hoping for a similar strong show in 2024.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a third term, the importance of Uttar Pradesh in the BJP's political numbers game has increased immensely as the fight for each and every seat has become important in the BJP’s quest for the targeted number of 370 Lok Sabha seats.