After Samajwadi Party pitted ex-BSF trooper Tej Bahadur Yadav against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in 2019 polls, AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) has asked the Congress party to withdraw its candidate Ajay Rai from Varanasi.
Taking to Twitter, responding to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's tweet supporting the SP's decision to field Tej Bahadur Yadav from Varanasi, AAP leader and Delhi's Deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote, "Now Congress should also withdraw its candidate from Varanasi", tagging the Indian National Congress's official Twitter handle, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal, who was PM Modi's contender in 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, but lost due to a wide margin, took to Twitter and extended congratulatory wishes to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
"Akhilesh ji, many congratulations to you. I salute Tej Bahadur for contesting against the Prime Minister. On one side there is the man who sacrificed his life for the nation and then lost his job due to the fight for his right, one the other side, there is the man who asks for votes in the name of the martyrdom of soldiers and snatching away the jobs of those who protest against the system," Kejriwal wrote to Twitter replying to Samajwadi Party's tweet.
In a last minute change, the Samajwadi Party replaced its previous candidate Shalini Yadav from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to fight against PM Narendra Modi and gave the ticket to Tej Bahadur Yadav.
With the last day to file nomination from Varanasi was on Monday, Tej Bahadur Yadav filed his nomination even as Shalini has not withdrawn hers in order to ensure the SP still has a candidate if Tej Bahadur’s nomination were to be rejected for any reason.
Notably, speculations were high that Congress will field Priyanka Gandhi against PM Modi from Varanasi. Amid the speculations of her contest against the Prime Minister, sources had told Republic that Congress has sought that the Samajwadi Party would back Priyanka Vadra from Varanasi, and will not field their candidate against the PM and her.