BJP leader Varun Gandhi was "too busy" to campaign for his party in the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, his mother and union minister Maneka Gandhi said today. Campaigning ended in the state on Monday in a marathon election spread over seven rounds and 30 days (February 11-March 11), that saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi address 23 public rallies and BJP chief Amit Shah and top union ministers campaign extensively as the BJP attempts to come back to power in UP after 15 years.
- Varun Gandhi is a member of Parliament from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh
- Mr Gandhi reportedly upset BJP didn't back him over 'honey-trap' scandal
- Mr Gandhi's supporters say he should have been BJP's face in UP
"Varun (Gandhi) has been very busy. He's been travelling to speak to students across the country at various campuses," Mrs Gandhi said, also pointing out that he is 36 years old and so she really can't speak for him.
Mr Gandhi, the BJP member of Parliament from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, reportedly excused himself from campaigning in the state as he was upset that the party did not back him amid allegations that he was honey-trapped into revealing defence secrets last year. He did not feature in the first lists of star campaigners that the BJP released and when he was included, it was as an after thought, seen as damage control by the party amid threats of rebellion by Varun Gandhi's supporters in UP.
Mr Gandhi's supporters say the party has sidelined a leader who should have been projected as presumptive chief minister in UP. Some of them, denied BJP ticket, have contested as candidates of rival parties like Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Maneka Gandhi would only say, "we will soon find out," when asked whether she thought not projecting a chief ministerial candidate would hurt the party in UP. The women and child development minister, who represents UP's Pilibhit in parliament, has campaigned a little.
She said she was glad PM Modi had undertaken an extensive campaign in Uttar Pradesh. "I am glad that the Prime Minister is travelling in Uttar Pradesh, he will see the kind of poor conditions in the state,'' Mrs Gandhi said.