Had Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contested the Lok Sabha elections against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, she would have won by a significant margin of votes, Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi claimed on Tuesday.

“The BJP has not only lost in Ayodhya, the prime minister has somehow managed to win from Varanasi,” Gandhi said while addressing a gathering in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli. “And I am telling you, if my sister had fought from Varanasi, the prime minister would have lost the polls by two lakh to three lakh votes.”

On June 4, Modi won the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency for a third consecutive term, with a margin of 1,52,513 votes. The margin of his victory dropped significantly from 2019, when it was 4,79,505 votes. In 2014, he won the seat by a margin of 3,71,784 votes.

The Congress had fielded its Uttar Pradesh chief Ajai Rai against Modi. While Modi was able to secure 6,12,970 votes, Rai won 4,60,457 votes.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi contested the polls from Kerala’s Wayanad and Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli and won both the seats.

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi said that the voters have rejected Modi’s vision of hate and violence.

Gandhi also took a jibe at the BJP, saying that the Hindutva party also lost from Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad constituency. The seat includes the Ayodhya Assembly segment.

“Ram temple was built in Ayodhya but farmers, labourers, poor, Dalits and backward class people were not seen at its inauguration program,” Gandhi said. “Many billionaires of the country including [Mukesh] Ambani, [Gautam] Adani were standing there but our Adivasi President was not even allowed to come. Therefore, the people of Ayodhya have also given their answer to the BJP.”

The Ram temple in Ayodhya is built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists in December 1992, because they believed that it stood on the spot where the deity Ram was born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

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