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Why did Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not contest polls? What Congress chief Kharge said

NEW DELHI: Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said that the party deliberately fielded candidates in fewer constituencies during the current Lok Sabha elections to defeat the BJP and maintain unity within the INDIA bloc.

In an interview with PTI, Kharge clarified that this decision does not reflect a lack of confidence on the part of the Congress. Instead, it is a compromise aimed at ensuring the victory of the united opposition while accommodating the strengths of other parties in different regions of the country.

Kharge also praised Priyanka Gandhi Vadra , describing her as an "asset" and a star campaigner for the party. He also justified her decision not to contest the elections, stating that it was a choice made by Sonia Gandhi , Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka herself.

"She (Priyanka) is also our star campaigner, along with Rahul Gandhi, as Sonia Gandhi ji is not keeping very good health. They are in demand and thousands come to listen to them.

"Both of them are our assets and if we invest all our assets at one place, then what about others as they have to help others too. We welcome whatever decision they have taken," the Congress chief said.

Regarding Rahul Gandhi's potential victory in both Wayanad and Rae Bareli, Kharge emphasized that the decision of which seat to leave would be Gandhi's personal choice.

The Congress chief explained that the party had established a committee to form coalitions in each state after consulting with other like-minded parties.

Despite some alliance partners competing against each other in certain states, Kharge maintained that there is no disunity in the fight against the central government. He stressed that every state has a different alliance, but all are united in their opposition to the BJP's and Prime Minister Modi's ideology.

Kharge criticized the BJP for suppressing democracy and opposing the Constitution, emphasizing the significance of this election for all segments of society. He accused the ruling party of misusing investigative agencies to harass and threaten opposition leaders, particularly during the election period, thus denying them a level playing field.

"Why did they not arrest them earlier when they were in power for the last 10 years? Elections are going on and here leaders are being threatened and harassed and put behind bars, not leaving them even to campaign.

"There is no level playing field being maintained by the BJP, as opposition leaders are being threatened. These things are not good for a democracy and an authoritarian rule is being implemented," the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha asserted.

The Congress president also justified the decision of several party stalwarts to refrain from contesting, stating that some had recently fought assembly elections and that senior leaders are needed to campaign for the party across the country.

"Besides, we also need senior leaders to do campaigning for the party across the country in the national election. We cannot ask everyone to contest. We are strengthening those who are contesting, but equally important are those who make the party's strategy in elections," he noted.