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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Varun Gandhi pens letter to Pilibhit voters after BJP denies him ticket

BJP MP Varun Gandhi — all but benched in this Lok Sabha poll cycle after he was denied a ticket by his party from his constituency, Pilibhit — penned an emotional note to his voters, emphasising his old bonds with them, but giving no hint as to his political future.

Sharing the letter on X, Mr. Gandhi said that his relationship with Pilibhit was “one of love and trust which is far above any political calculations”.

The BJP has fielded Uttar Pradesh Public Works Minister Jitin Prasada as its candidate from Pilibhit, replacing Mr. Gandhi who has been vocal against his own government several times on issues such as inflation, unemployment, and farmers’ woes. Mr. Prasada filed his nomination papers for the Pilibhit seat on March 27; Mr. Gandhi did not file at all, despite speculation that he might file as an Independent candidate.

Also read: Lok Sabha elections LIVE updates - March 28

Mother-son duo

This is the first time in three and a half decades that neither Mr. Gandhi nor his mother, former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, will be in the fray from the Pilibhit constituency, which is located in the Terai belt bordering Nepal.

Ms. Gandhi had won the seat on a Janata Dal ticket in 1989, then lost it in 1991, before winning it again in 1996. She won from the constituency in 1998 and 1999 as an independent candidate. She won the seat again in 2004 and 2014, this time as a BJP candidate. Mr. Varun Gandhi then won the seat in 2009 and 2019 as a BJP candidate. For the 2024 election, the BJP is fielding Ms. Gandhi from Sultanpur.

No hint of future plans

Recounting his long association with the constituency, Mr. Gandhi said, “Today, when I am writing this letter, countless memories have made me emotional. I remember that little three-year-old child who came to Pilibhit for the first time in 1983 holding the fingers of his mother. Little did he know that one day this land would become his work place and the people here would become his family.”

“If not as an MP, then at least as a son, I am committed to serve you throughout my life and my doors will always remain open for you as before. I came into politics to raise the voice of the common man and today I seek your blessings to continue doing this work always. Even if I have to pay any cost for this,” he added.

Mr. Gandhi has kept mum so far on his future political plans; much depends on how he manages to reconfigure his politics, inside and outside the BJP.

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