Varun may contest from Sultanpur

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BJP national secretary and Lok Sabha member from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi is exploring the possibility of contesting the next Lok Sabha election from Sultanpur in central UP. If it works out all right, his mother Maneka Gandhi may move from Aonla to Pilibhit which he will vacate, it is learnt.

Sources said Varun has sent a five-member team from Delhi to Sultanpur who, for the last few days, have been meeting prominent people to seek their support for Varun for the next election and also collecting feedback. They are meeting village pradhans, block development committee members and other influential persons. They are taking help of selected local BJP workers in identifying and contacting such persons.

BJP workers have also displayed posters in support of Varun Gandhi in the constituency. One of these reads, "Naam wahi jo kaam karaye, Sultanpur ka samman badhaye", and carries his photograph. The posters are similar to the posters which were put up in Pilibhit when Varun Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the Lok sabha election in 2009.

Sources said each member of the team has been given charge of one Assembly segment. Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency has five Assembly segments, namely Sultanpur, Lambhua, Sadar, Kadipur and Isauli. BJP hasn't won any of these seats in the last two Assembly elections. In the last election, the Samajwadi Party had won all five seats.

Varun refused to comment on the activity, saying that the BJP will announce its candidates at right time, but a senior party leader said that Varun had already informed the party's top brass about his plan to move to Sultanpur. He is banking on the fact that his father, the late Sanjay Gandhi, was MP from neighbouring Amethi, which is part of Sultanpur district, and people still remember him.

Another party leader said that Sultanpur is a politically important seat and it would be good if Varun won it for the BJP. Local BJP leaders say that there will be no internal opposition to Varun because there is no strong local candidate. No BJP candidate has won from Sultanpur since 1999. Surya Bhan Singh, the party's candidate in 2009, had got only 44,424 votes and lost by a huge margin. "This seat has more than 10 lakh votes. If Varunji contests here, he may win by a big margin because he is a national leader. All party workers will support him," said Shivakant Mishra, BJP's Sultanpur district coordinator and poll management in-charge.

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