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Direct contest between INDIA bloc, NDA in Varanasi: Congress UP chief Ajay Rai

VARANASI: Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Rai, who has once again been named as the party candidate from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said on Sunday there will be a direct contest between the INDIA bloc and the NDA, and the issue of ”local versus outsider” will also figure prominently in the Lok Sabha polls on the seat.

”This time the Lok Sabha elections will be held directly between the INDIA block and the NDA. Due to this, the equations have changed and the electoral environment has also changed completely. The people are facing unemployment, inflation and corruption, and are fed up with the BJP’s false claims of development. They have made up their mind to change (the winner) this time,” Rai said while talking to PTI.

In the past several elections, along with the BJP and the main opposition party, a third strong candidate also used to be fielded, which would divide the votes, Rai said.

But this time, there is a direct contest between the INDIA bloc and the NDA, he said, and added, ”Our alliance will win.” Rai, who has been an MLA three times from Kolasla seat of Varanasi and once from Pindra seat, said this time the issue of ”local versus outsider candidate” will also matter in Varanasi.

Rai had raised the ”local versus outsider” issue in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections also while contesting against Modi in Varanasi, but had lost on both the occasions.

He alleged that despite being the parliamentary constituency of the prime minister, the basic problems of Varanasi have remained the same in the last 10 years and whatever development work has been done, efforts have been made to benefit the ”Gujarat lobby” only.

Gujarat is the home state of the prime minister.

Rai alleged that people only from Gujarat have been appointed in whatever permanent jobs were created in Varanasi. Due to this, a perception has been created among the general public that they are being deprived of employment in their own homes, he alleged.

He claimed that the local people of Varanasi unanimous believe that no outside candidate can understand their pain and suffering, hence, they have now made up their mind for a change.

Rai said he has been challenging Prime Minister Modi for the last 10 years. Many people who took on Modi either fled the area or went to jail, while some joined the BJP. However, he himself is still struggling because he has always done ”clean politics”, the Congress UP chief claimed.

Rai said along with unemployment and inflation, the issue of corruption will also be raised prominently in this election.

Referring to the revelations regarding the electoral bonds, he said due to this, the reality of the BJP has got exposed.

”This will also have a wide impact on the election scenario,” he said.

He said he will also strongly raise the issue of the BJP claiming to be a cow protector but taking donations in the form of electoral bonds even from beef trading companies.

The Congress, in its first list released on Saturday, fielded Rai from Varanasi against Modi.

He had earlier contested the Lok Sabha election on an SP ticket in 2009 and against Modi in 2014 and 2019 on a Congress ticket.

In the 2019 polls, he got 1,52,548 votes and was at the third place.

Source: Press Trust of India

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