Varun Gandhi has started campaigning in Sultanpur before the BJP has even declared its candidates for Uttar Pradesh. Sultanpur is not his seat in the first place; he represents Pilibhit.
On Tuesday, he addressed 14 meetings in Sultanpur’s Isauli assembly segment. He will spend five days in the constituency and plans to address at least 15 public meetings in each of the five assembly segments every day.
Varun, incidentally, was not present at any of Narendra Modi’s eight rallies in the state.
He has addressed his meetings with the authority of someone already nominated. On Tuesday, he appealed to voters to give him an opportunity and assured them he could represent them better that any other candidate.
Varun’s enthusiasm has not gone down well with the BJP state unit. Party state president Laxmikant Bajpai said the way “senior leaders” were getting impatient and presenting themselves as candidates in public, it was demoralising committed workers.
Though the district unit of Sultanpur is assisting Varun because he has chosen to campaign, Bajpai said the state
unit will support any candidate the BJP parliamentary board eventually selects.
Varun, who had addressed two public meetings in Sultanpur in the last one year, reached Sultanpur Tuesday morning in a chartered flight from Delhi.
He reached every venue in a cavalcade of nearly 20 vehicles, was welcomed with garlands by local leaders, addressed crowds between 200 and 1,000 strong, and left in minutes. By
5 pm, he had wrapped up all 14 meetings. The speech was identical at every meeting, a promise that he would be
a strong voice for them in the Lok Sabha, that he was there not as a leader but as a son, and that he would continue visiting the villages after the elections.
Varun invoked the legacy of his father Sanjay Gandhi who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amethi, then part of Sultanpur.
He was accompanied across the tour by, intriguingly, Chandrabhadra Singh, also known as Sonu Singh, the former BSP MLA whose induction he had opposed on the ground that he is a history-sheeter. Singh even shared the stage at a few places.
BJP leader and chairman of Sultanpur Nagar Palika Praveen Agarwal later organised a meeting of traders at Sitakund Dharmashala and invited Varun to interact with them. Varun will stay at a house in Shastri Nagar area of Sultanpur during the elections.
He had addressed a rally in Sultanpur