Lucknow, Mar 6: Union Minister Maneka Gandhi spoke out on the decision of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not projecting Varun Gandhi as the chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh. Instead of expressing dissent, Maneka Gandhi respected the decision of the party, calling it an internal matter under the jurisdiction of senior leaders. “It was the decision of party to not project Varun as the CM candidate,” she was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Way before BJP began electioneering in Uttar Pradesh, Varun Gandhi’s name propped up as the most probable chief ministerial candidate. Considering the wave of popularity he enjoyed among BJP cadres, combined with his educational qualifications, Varun emerged as the most eligible CM candidate for the saffron party in UP. However, Varun was seemingly sidelined by the top brass.

Pollsters opine that Varun’s elevation in BJP would be restricted due to his family baggage. Being part of the Nehru-Gandhi family, Varun is unlikely to ascent within BJP.

Not only was Varun sidelined by the senior leadership, he was also removed by the party from the list of star campaigners. According to reports, Varun was dropped from the list due to his speech at a recent college function, where he expressed concern over the situation of Dalits and minorities in the nation. Varun also raked up the case of Rohith Vemula’s suicide, seeking justice for the PhD scholar who committed suicide in Hyderabad University in January 2016.

‘Glad PM travelling in UP, the state is in pathetic condition’

Lashing out at the Akhilesh Yadav government, Maneka stated that Uttar Pradesh has been left in a pathetic condition. She welcomed the decision of Prime Minister to campaign extensively in UP, stating that he would witness the lack of development in the state.

Narendra Modi is facing criticism from political opponents over his prolonged campaign in Varanasi, claiming that the PM has sensed BJP’s defeat and making last ditch efforts to turn the tides.

‘Triple Talaq not a poll issue, converted into one’

Making interesting remark on the issue of triple talaq, Maneka Gandhi questioned the politicisation of the menace ahead of the polls. “Triple Talaq was not a poll issue till now. But with elections in sight, it has been turned into a poll issue,” she said.

Interestingly, the debate surrounding triple talaq has been fanned by BJP leaders in run up to the elections, with Prime Minister Modi himself expressing the need to “ensure justice for Muslim sisters”. BJP chief Amit Shah, while addressing his poll rallies in the first two phases, expressed the need to review the laws surrounding triple talaq in consultation with Muslim women of UP.