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Sonia files nomination, gets into poll mode
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Rae Bareli, April 17
The party has started looking up in Uttar Pradesh, said a beaming Congress president Sonia Gandhi today while summing up the impact of her candidature from Rae Bareli on the health of Congress in UP.

Speaking to the media at the collectorate compound immediately after filing her nomination as a Congress candidate for the byelection in Rae Bareli on May 8, Ms Sonia Gandhi flanked by her family members MP son Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra pointed out that much development had taken place in her constituency but much more needed to be done.

Reiterating her deep emotional relationship with Rae Bareli, Ms Gandhi called the place the 'karmabhoomi' of her family.

She smiled and moved on when asked to comment on the Opposition's charge that she had forced an election on the people of Rae Bareli by her decision to resign on the issue of office of profit.

Wearing a cream-coloured sari with blue border, Ms Gandhi remained in the complex for barely 15 minutes filing her nomination before district magistrate Jitendra Kumar and then briefly speaking to the waiting media outside.

Braving the mid-day heat, huge crowds, comprising young men, women and children, waving party flags and cheering loudly had assembled outside the DM's office and along the roads.

Senior Congress leaders were awaiting their leader since morning. Besides AICC's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Ashok Gehlot, there were two Union Ministers Shri Prakash Jaiswal, and Akhilesh Das, UPCC president Salman Khurshid, UPCC legislative party leader Pramod Tiwari, Rita Bahuguna and many MLAs.

Ms Gandhi's nomination was proposed by ex-MLAs Ashok Singh, Kamal Nayan Verma, and local leaders Uma Shankar Mishra and Surendera Pratap Pasi.

Ms Gandhi set the mood for her election campaign on her nomination day by upholding the interfaith traditions of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Accompanied by Rahul and Robert Vadra and Priyanka dressed in a cool yellow and lime green sari, the family person Sonia first paid her obeisance at the Hanuman Mandir at Churwa on the Lucknow-Rae Bareli border.

She then performed a havan at Tilak Bhawan the district Congress office near the railway station before proceeding to the collectorate to file her nomination.

Immediately after filing her nomination, she upheld another family tradition by proceeding to Takia the ancestral house and now resting place of renowned Muslim scholar Ali Miyan Nadawi who was the founder chairperson of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Rector of Nadwa Seminary in Lucknow. 

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Sonia has Rs 20,000 only!
Tribune News Service

Rae Bareli, April 17
Having a total worth of more than a crore, including 10 valuable shares of the Maruti company, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi does not own a car and has just Rs 20,000 in the name of cash.

This surprising fact emerged from declaration of assets made by her while filing nomination papers in before the District Magistrate and Returning Officer for the Rae Bareli bypoll Jitendra Kumar.

An evidently caring mother, she has also lent Rs 5,04,394 lakh to daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, now listed as values of claims and interest in her declaration.

Never publicly seen sporting much jewellery, the Congress president possesses 2118.450 grams or more than two kg of gold, worth Rs 10.49 lakh, and 88 kg of silverware, worth Rs 11.17 lakh. The total value of her jewellery is estimated at Rs 21.66 lakh.

The worth of her immovable property appears intriguing. She has declared that she possess three plots, spread over 12 khasra numbers in Dera Mandi village and 12 bighas and 15 biswas of land in Sultanpur village, both on the outskirts of Delhi.

However, the total value of these lands is surprisingly stated to be Rs 2,19,300 as per wealth tax returns of 2005-2006.

The other immovable property declared by Ms Gandhi is an ancestral home in Italy valued at Rs 13 lakh as on 31 March 2006.

Mrs Gandhi declared Rs 8,35,338 in the State Bank of India account and fixed deposits worth Rs 20 lakh in an account with the UCO Bank. She also possesses RBI bonds worth Rs 12 lakhs and UTI bonds totalling Rs 52,800.

Besides, the 10 shares with the Maruti Technical Service Pvt Limited, the cost of which has not been quoted, Ms Gandhi also holds 500 shares of Western India Tanneries Ltd, the total worth of which has not been mentioned.

She also has 17.88 lakh in her PPF account and Rs 1.49 lakhs as NSS. The educational qualification mentioned in her declaration is a three-year course in foreign languages (English and French) completed in 1964 at Istituto Santa Teresa in Turin.

After that, she completed a one-year certificate course in English language from Lennox Cook School in Cambridge, UK, in 1965. 

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