Explainer: Why Rae Bareli and Amethi may become turning points in India’s politics : The Tribune India

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Explainer: Why Rae Bareli and Amethi may become turning points in India’s politics

Can Rahul Gandhi save his mother’s seat this time?

Explainer: Why Rae Bareli and Amethi may become turning points in India’s politics

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, with Rahul and Priyanka, during a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections, in Rae Bareli district. May 17, 2024. PTI



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, May 20

Interestingly, a key focus of phase-5 Lok Sabha election remained on two constituencies —Amethi and Rae Bareli—in battleground Uttar Pradesh.

While there were around 144 contestants in the fray on Monday, media attention remained centred around Union Minister Smriti Irani in Amethi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli.

The two constituencies were watched closely as, according to political observers, results from Amethi and Rae Bareli had the potential to become “major turning points in the political history of not just Uttar Pradesh but perhaps the entire country”.

Though he seems to have a “safe bet" in the form of Wayanad in Kerala, the fate of Rahul Gandhi, who lost Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani in 2019 Lok Sabha election, in Rae Bareli is being watched closely. Likewise, all eyes are on whether Smriti is able to retain Amethi against the long-time Gandhi family confidant KL Sharma—the man who has been managing election campaigns of the family in Amethi and Rae Bareli since 1984.

Can Rahul save his mother’s seat this time?

For Congress, 2024 may very well be the last battle of survival in Uttar Pradesh.

The big question is can the Congress save the last bastion and will Priyanka Vadra, who has been campaigning extensively in the two constituencies, prove her worth as an effective campaigner. 

Or will the BJP be able to snatch another family borough—Rae Bareli—this time as well.  

In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Amethi and Rae Bareli were the only two seats the Congress won in Uttar Pradesh that sends as many as 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

In 2019, Irani scored a major upset when she defeated Rahul in Amethi.

In 2019, Rae Bareli was won by Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi, who has since then moved on to the Rajya Sabha.

Making a pitch for her son, Sonia told people of Rae Bareli that she was handing over her son to them. “Main aapko apna beta saunp rahi hoon,” she said. The way you treated me as one of your own, please treat Rahul in the same way, he will not disappoint you, she also told them.

For political experts this was perhaps the most fervent appeal a mother could have made for her son.

“Rae Bareli is my family, similarly Amethi is also my home. Not only are fond memories of my life associated with this place but the roots of our family are also connected to this soil for the last 100 years,” said Sonia, flanked by son Rahul and daughter Priyanka.

Importance of the two seats

Observers say that the Congress needs to win at least Rae Bareli to remain relevant in state politics and the country. 

The two seats have been represented by who’s who of the Gandhi family, including Feroze Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Priyanka, who was earlier speculated as a possible candidate from either of the two seats, had also worked hard on the two seats.

However, the political situation and equations have changed there since the Narendra Modi government came to power at the Centre and BJP’s consecutive victories in Uttar Pradesh. 

Several local Congress leaders in Amethi and Rae Bareli have jumped ship to the BJP and the delay in announcing candidates for two seats may not have helped the Congress’ cause.

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Lok Sabha #Rahul Gandhi #Smriti Irani #Uttar Pradesh


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