Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s cousin brother and BJP lawmaker Varun Gandhi on Sunday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi but not without a sharp remark on the political past of Nehru-Gandhi family. “Vajpayee ji was from a normal family but had never seen abject poverty. Modi ji is from an economically weaker family. Honestly speaking, some people of my family have also been prime minister but the honour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought to the country hasn't been seen in long past," Gandhi said while addressing a mega rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit.
This was the first big public meeting of the BJP lawmaker, who has swapped seats with his mother Union Minister Maneka Gandhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
It is believed that Maneka Gandhi had asked the BJP leadership to field her son from Pilibhit, from where she has won a number of times and which is seen a relatively safe seat for her family. Varun Gandhi had won from Pilibhit once in 2009. March 26, shortly after BJP announced his name, Gandhi had thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah for declaring him the party's candidate from Pilibhit and said that he had a "familial bond" with the place.
Sometime after Rahul Gandhi took over as the Congress chief from mother Sonia Gandhi, there were speculations that Varun Gandhi might join the Grand Old Part of Indi. There were reports that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may play the mediator and help crack a deal for her cousin.
Sources close to the Varun Gandhi had said that he was not getting his due share in the BJP. There were also been reports of rift between Varun Gandhi and the BJP leadership after his name was not considered for the chief minister's post in Uttar Pradesh.
He has been critical of the Narendra Modi government's several decisions and this is considered as one of the reasons the BJP has not given him any crucial role in the party. Also, Varun has praised Congress-led UPA government's schemes, including the MNREGA. It is to be noted that Modi has been a critic of the MNREGA scheme aimed at tackling the extreme poverty.
Pilibhit will vote on April 23, in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections that start on Thursday. The results will be declared on May 23.