After decades, no Gandhi to contest Amethi; Rahul to test Raebareli waters : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

After decades, no Gandhi to contest Amethi; Rahul to test Raebareli waters

After decades, no Gandhi to contest Amethi; Rahul to test Raebareli waters

Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia Gandhi after filing nomination papers from the Raebareli constituency on Friday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, May 3

After representing UP’s Amethi for three decades since the Lok Sabha constituency was created in 1967, the Gandhis on Friday vacated the seat as Rahul Gandhi, the last of the family’s MPs from here, shifted to neighbouring Raebareli.

Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi was Raebareli MP in the outgoing 17th Lok Sabha. She was the only Congress winner in UP in the 2019 poll. Rahul had then lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani in Amethi.

Won all but 3 elections

  • Since 1967 when Amethi LS segment was formed, the Congress has won all but three elections and has held the segment for 48 years.
  • Family members Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have alone held the seat for 31 years.
  • Only time non-Congress candidates won was in 1977 after the Emergency; in 1998 when erstwhile royal Sanjay Singh defeated Satish Sharma and in 2019 when Smriti took down Rahul.

Kishori Lal Sharma, a Gandhi loyalist, will contest Amethi, a segment the Congress’ first family and their aides never lost except thrice since 1967. The only time non-Congress candidates won was in 1977 after the Emergency; 1998 when erstwhile royal Sanjay Singh defeated Congress’ Satish Sharma and 2019 when Smriti took down Rahul. Before he lost to Smriti and won from Kerala’s Wayanad, Rahul had represented Amethi for 15 years starting 2004, the year of his electoral debut from the seat vacated then by his mother.

Life came full circle for Rahul on Friday as he opted for his mother’s safe seat the second time in attempts to erase the stigma of the 2019 defeat at the BJP’s hands. The Congress was quick to project the former party president’s shift to Raebareli as a “masterstroke, a chess move” even as Rahul, after filing nomination papers in the presence of family, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and CMs of Congress-ruled states, described the moment as emotional.

‘Daro mat’: Modi takes swipe at cong leader

I had said earlier that the ‘prince’, after polling in Wayanad, will look for another seat… he had to flee Amethi. They go around telling people ‘daro mat’. I too will tell them — ‘daro mat’. —Narendra Modi, PM

“The nomination from Raebareli was an emotional moment for me. My mother has entrusted me with the responsibility of the family’s workplace with great confidence and given me the opportunity to serve it. Amethi and Raebareli are no different for me, both are family and I am happy that Kishori Lal ji, who has been serving the area for 40 years, will represent the party from Amethi,” Rahul said after the BJP slammed his move as “cowardly”, saying it signalled plain retreat in the face of an impending loss against Smriti.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally led the attack against Rahul using the latter’s own words. “Daro mat; bhaago mat (don’t fear, don’t run), I want to tell the prince,” Modi said in Bengal, recalling that he had predicted long ago that both mother and son would escape a fight for fear of loss.

The slugfest apart, realpolitik appears to have led to the difficult Congress call to field Rahul from a “safe seat”. Since the first Raebareli election which Feroze Gandhi won in 1952, the segment has been dutifully returning all Gandhi family members and their confidantes who have contested here.

Indira Gandhi represented Raebareli in 1967, 1971 and 1980. Family’s aides Sheila Kaul and Satish Sharma also held the seat until Sonia Gandhi shifted to Raebareli in 2004 to make way for son Rahul in Amethi, which she won in 1999.

In 2019, Sonia was the only Congress winner from UP and defended Raebareli with a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes. Her son, however, lost Amethi, his share in the seat dwindling for a while. In 2004, when Rahul first won Amethi, he polled 68.18 per cent votes against the BSP rival’s 16.85 per cent. In 2009, the ratio was 71.78 per cent for Rahul and 14.54 per cent for the BSP.

In 2014, Rahul’s vote share dipped 25 per cent to 46.71 per cent against Smriti’s 34.38 per cent. In 2019, Smriti trounced Rahul by over 50,000 votes. Although the Congress, by fielding party worker Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi, seeks to counter the BJP’s dynasty charge, it remains to be seen whether Rahul’s shift to Raebareli turns out good politics.

Rahul is likely to win Wayanad and if he wins Raebareli also, he would face the choice of keeping one. Leaving Wayanad, could spoil the Congress’ seemingly bright prospects in Kerala Assembly polls and leaving Raebareli would look odd too.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Lok Sabha #Rahul Gandhi


Top News

Donald Trump calls for country to ‘stand united’ after surviving assassination attempt

Donald Trump calls for country to ‘stand united’ after surviving assassination attempt

Trump, 78, survives the attempt on his life on Saturday when...

FBI identifies shooter as 20-year-old Pennsylvania man: Report

FBI identifies 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks as 'subject involved' in Trump rally shooting

The former president was showing off a chart of border cross...

Army foils infiltration bid along LoC in J-K’s Keran sector

3 terrorists killed as army foils infiltration bid along LoC in J-K’s Keran sector

The army says the anti-infiltration operation is going on

Spain strike late to beat England 2-1 and win Euro 2024

Spain beats England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Williams hit a first-time shot from teenage Spain prodigy La...

Punjab Police arrest 2 gangsters after brief encounter in Patiala

Punjab Police arrest 2 gangsters after brief encounter in Patiala

Solve two incidents within 12 hours


Cities

View All