Varun Gandhi seeks votes for ‘Maa Maneka’ in Sultanpur

Sultanpur is scheduled to go to polls in phase VI of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 25. The campaigning for the sixth phase ended on Thursday at 6 pm.
BJP leader Varun Gandhi addresses a rally in support of his mother and party candidate from Sultanpur constituency Maneka Gandhi for Lok Sabha elections, in Sultanpur, Thursday, May 23, 2024.
BJP leader Varun Gandhi addresses a rally in support of his mother and party candidate from Sultanpur constituency Maneka Gandhi for Lok Sabha elections, in Sultanpur, Thursday, May 23, 2024.(Photo| PTI)

LUCKNOW: After being denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections, BJP leader and party’s outgoing Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi reached Sultanpur on Thursday to campaign in favour of his mother Maneka Gandhi, who is contesting from the seat on a BJP ticket and is seeking a ninth term as MP.

Sultanpur is scheduled to go to poll in phase VI of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 25.

Coming to a rousing welcome, Varun held around a dozen ‘nukkad’ meetings across five assembly segments of the constituency seeking support for his mother.

Varun started the series of meetings as early as 9:30 in the morning. While addressing such a ‘nukkad’ sabha, he underscored the close connection his mother held with the people of Sultanpur.

"The entire country is witnessing elections currently with 543 candidates in fray. However, there is only one constituency where the people address their candidate as ‘Maa’ instead of Sansad ji, Mantri ji, or by her name," said Varun Gandhi addressing a cheering crowd.

“I am here to gather support for not just my mother but the mother of Sultanpur..," he said seeking a victory for Maneka with record votes.

BJP leader Varun Gandhi addresses a rally in support of his mother and party candidate from Sultanpur constituency Maneka Gandhi for Lok Sabha elections, in Sultanpur, Thursday, May 23, 2024.
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He claimed that he was reminded of his father whenever he was in Sultanpur and used to consider it as his ‘Pitrabhoomi’.

“Now I will say with pride that this is my ‘mathribhoomi’ too,” Varun said.

Varun Gandhi is a popular figure in Sultanpur as he represented the Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 after he had won from there as a BJP candidate by a margin of 1.79 lakh votes trouncing his nearest rival Pawan Pandey of BSP.

However, this is the first rally Varun Gandhi has addressed during the current general elections. The leader has remained out of the public space since he was denied a ticket and was replaced with Jitin Prasada in the Pilibhit constituency, which went to polls in the first phase.

After completing his term as Sultanpur MP, Varun had swapped the seat with his mother in 2019 and shifted to Pilibhit where he won with a thumping majority. Maneka won from Sultanpur by over 14,000 votes.

Responding to Varun's visit to campaign for her in the elections, Maneka Gandhi said: "Varun is here, he will be attending multiple meetings today. His campaigning will certainly benefit us."

She urged the voters to register their right keeping in mind their personal interests.

"You all should think which MP can work for you and get your issues resolved, and then vote," she said.

Until recently, Maneka had been running a quiet campaign in Sultanpur without any of the party's star campaigners. The campaigns relied on the work she had done during the last five years and also amplified her image of being an accessible MP and her rapport with the electorate. However, on Wednesday, UP CM Yogi Adityanath joined her campaign and held a massive rally in Sultanpur.

The campaigning for the sixth phase of general elections ended on Thursday at 6 pm.

The Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat, UP's constituency No 38, has always remained in the shadow of its high-profile neighbours, Amethi (No 37) and Rae Bareli (No 36).

Sultanpur played the district headquarters of Amethi parliamentary seat before it became a separate district in 2010.

This time, Maneka is facing a formidable challenge from SP's Ram Bhuwal Nishad, a prominent leader of the boatmen community from Gorakhpur. A two-time former MLA, Nishad started his political career with BSP and after a brief stopover in BJP, joined SP a few years ago.

Nishad banks on the support of Muslim voters and consolidation of non-Yadav OBCs. BSP nominee Uday Raj Verma, a Kurmi, who threatens to divide the OBC votes of Akhilesh Yadav-led SP.

Since independence, Sultanpur has seen MPs from several parties, without outright dominance of any one. Congress won eight times in Sultanpur, BSP twice, while BJP secured victory four times.

BJP leader Varun Gandhi addresses a rally in support of his mother and party candidate from Sultanpur constituency Maneka Gandhi for Lok Sabha elections, in Sultanpur, Thursday, May 23, 2024.
'Maa Maneka Phir Ek Baar': Varun Gandhi comes to mother's aid in Sultanpur

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