Maneka Gandhi, Varun Gandhi Swap Seats As BJP Treads Carefully In UP

Sources say one of the reasons is that the BJP was less sure of Varun Gandhi's chances in Sultanpur this time.

The straight swap with Varun Gandhi was reportedly Maneka Gandhi's idea.

New Delhi:

The mother-son duo of Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi will swap seats, according to the BJP's latest list of candidates contesting in Uttar Pradesh in next month's national election.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who holds Pilibhit, will shift to her original constituency of Sultanpur. Sultanpur's lawmaker Varun Gandhi, 38, will contest from Pilibhit.

"I would like to thank the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji and Hon'ble BJP President Shri @AmitShah Ji for reposing their faith in me. I'm honoured to be returning to Pilibhit - with which I have a familial bond - and hope to make it a meaningful, issue-based election," Varun Gandhi tweeted.

The straight swap was reportedly Maneka Gandhi's idea.

Sources say one of the reasons is that the BJP was less sure of Varun Gandhi's chances in Sultanpur this time.

Sultanpur is next door to the Amethi constituency of his cousin and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. In 2014, Varun defeated a strong Congress candidate, Amita Singh.

Maneka Gandhi, 62, is the wife of Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and the brother of Rajiv Gandhi. 

She broke away from the Gandhi family and the Congress after Sanjay Gandhi's death in a small plane crash in 1980, and is estranged from her sister-in-law Sonia Gandhi.

Varun Gandhi, younger to his cousins Rahul and Priyanka, fought his first election from Pilibhit in 2009. His mother shifted to Aonla, next to Pilibhit.

Over the past few years, he has been vocal in his criticism of the BJP leadership.

The national election will be held in seven rounds from April 11 to May 19 and the results will be declared on May 23. Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 seats, will vote in all the rounds.

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