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Chandigarh Skin Clinic: Hi-Tech, No-Frills For A Win-Win Affordable Experience

The top-of-the-line dermatology and cosmetology machines at the no-frills Chandigarh Skin Clinic


A highly experienced, committed and ethical consultant dermatologist-cosmetologist, state-of-the-art technologies and machines, many of them US FDA approved, and a simple, no-frills clinic, that is the  formula the newly opened Chandigarh Skin Clinic in Industrial Area Phase II has adopted to give customers the best of services at most affordable rates.

Frankly, at first sight, the clinic looks just too simple for a place offering high-end medical cosmetology and dermatology services. But a brief interaction with Dr Jatinder Kaur, consultant dermatologist-cosmetologist with 34 years of government and private practice, and the promoters, who themselves are in the business of medical technologies and equipment, is enough to convince us that the formula adopted is very practical and tailor-made for providing what is claimed as “absolutely safe and affordable services” to large sections of people, for whom these have so far remained a far cry, going beyond their means.

So, first thing first, as Dr Jatinder Kaur lists out, among the treatments available at the clinic are unwanted hair growth, acne treatment, scars treatment, skin infections, psoriasis, freckles treatment, pigmentation, hair fall & dandruff, warts & skin tags, nail diseases, ageing skin & wrinkles, vitiligo, moles and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Among the high-end equipments the clinic boasts of are US FDA approved Diode Laser Machine, Microneedling Radio Frequency, US FDA approved ND Yag Q switched Laser Machine, Optimum Pulse Light System,  Hydrafacial System and Co2 Fractional Laser &  High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).

Explaining some of the treatments offered, Dr Jatinder Kaur says laser hair reduction provides the ultimate solution for unwanted hair. It works because lasers are able to target melanin in the hair follicle, disabling it from further growth and putting an end to routine shaving, irritation and waxing.

Hydrafacial treatment has emerged as a revolutionary and highly sought after solution for individuals looking to rejuvenate their skin, and Carbon facial is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure which utilizes the power of laser technology, combined with a carbon-based serum, to rejuvenate the skin, address various skin concerns, and promote a radiant complexion.

She further shares that Micro Needling and MNRF are non-surgical skin rejuvenation techniques using tiny needles to stimulate collagen production, reducing fine lines, scars, and improving skin texture.

Also available is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, which uses the patient’s own blood to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration.

Then there are Chemical Peels which reduce or improve wrinkles, blemishes (Melasma) and pigment spots. Sun exposure, acne, or just getting older can leave your skin tone uneven, wrinkled, spotted or scarred. A chemical peel is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of your skin, Dr Kaur informs.

Similarly, there is Mesotherapy, a minimally invasive technique that involves injecting a customized blend of vitamins and nutrients into the skin; and High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a non-invasive procedure that uses focused ultrasound waves for tissue tightening.

The clinic is assuring customers of providing customized solutions for a healthy skin and a rejuvenated look by combining medical knowledge and skill with the latest technological advancements. The treatments offered, apart from being claimed to be safe and affordable, come with a promise of being long lasting as well.

Qualifying the affordability factor

Giving us a sense of the affordability of the rates the clinic is charging vis-a-vis comparable facilities being offered elsewhere in the market (of course minus the frills), Dr Jatinder Kaur, who also provides her services at charitable institutions and free medical camps, informs that they charge just Rs 2200 for a full face laser hair reduction (market rate Rs 5,000-7,000), Rs 1200 for a hydrafacial (market rate Rs 5,000-8,000), Rs 600-800 for chemical peels (market rate Rs 2,000-3,000).

Care to give it a try!


Can Country Be Held To Ransom! Now Jaipur, Lucknow Schools Get Hoax Bomb Mails

Picture used for representative purpose only
Security agencies need to quickly find a way to track the culprits and neutralise them

Emboldened by the failure of the Indian security establishment to crack the source of the recent spate of hoax emails threatening to blow up schools, hospitals, airports and other mass gathering venues in various parts of the country, have further emboldened miscreants or anti-India forces in their game of spreading large scale panic.

In this continuing string of emails, dozens of schools in Jaipur and a few in Lucknow were targeted on Monday, which happens to be the 16th anniversary of the synchronized serial bomb blasts in Jaipur in 2008 in which 71 people lost their loves and dozens of others were injured.

As happened on all previous occasions since May 1, when 100+ schools in Delhi and other NCR areas received bomb threats on mail, these threats after thorough searches were found to be hoax. Nevertheless, taking no chances schools evacuated their students and staff, and bomb detection and disposal squads had to be rushed to all the venues.

Despite independent and coordinated efforts, specialized units of various security agencies have so far not been able to trace the source of these emails since these have apparently been sent using virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxy servers, which make it very difficult to trace the IP addresses of the senders.

After the threats in Delhi-NCR, schools in Gujarat were also targeted.

Yesterday (Sunday), several hospitals in Delhi and 12 airports, including IGI Delhi and Jaipur, were targeted with bomb threats through emails.

These threats, coming as they are in the midst of heightened security nationwide in the wake of the ongoing elections, are a cause of worry for the security establishment, which cannot afford to take chances, and panic in the general public.

The security agencies need to quickly find a way to track the culprits. Can they allow the country be held to ransom!

With 10 Poll Promises, AAP Supremo Pitches ‘Kejriwal Ki Guarantee’ Against ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’

Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal announcing his 10 guarantees for LS elections 2024 in a press conference in Delhi. Also seen are Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann and other senior party leaders
‘I don’t want to be the Prime Minister’, he states but his assertive messaging speaks otherwise

By announcing 10 guarantees for the country, which he presented as a vision for new India, without which a country cannot become powerful, and pitching “Kejriwal ki Guarantee” against “Modi ki Guarantee”, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal has let it be known in no uncertain terms that he is a contender to replace Narendra Modi as Prime Minister should the INDIA bloc outperform the BJP led NDA alliance in the Lok Sabha elections and storm to power.

Announcing these poll promises in the form of guarantees, including 200 units of free and uninterrupted power supply across the country, free education and full statehood for Delhi, in a press conference at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday, though Kejriwal clarified that “I don’t want to be Prime Minister,” he at the same time asserted that “it is my guarantee that when the INDIA Alliance forms the government I will ensure that these promises are fulfilled.”

However, in his assertions the intent was more than clear. “BJP has always failed on its promises. My guarantees have a proven track record. Now, people have to take a call whether to go for ‘Kejriwal ki Guarantee’ or ‘Modi ki Guarantee”.

In response to a query, Kejriwal gave further vent to his assertiveness on the issue when he said, “I have not discussed these (guarantees) with my INDIA bloc colleagues. But I’m sure no INDIA bloc leader will have any problem with these.”

The question is, with the INDIA alliance partners failing to agree to a common minimum programme before the polls, and each of its major constituent parties showcasing their own set of poll promises and guarantees, what should the electorate expect from the alliance to convince itself to vote out the BJP led NDA.

The 10 guarantees
• 24-hour electricity supply with the first 200 units of power free across the country
• Promise of making arrangements for free education for all and making government schools better than private schools
• Infrastructue and facility build up at government hospitals at par with private hospitals
• India’s land to be freed from China, Army to be given a free hand
• Agniveer scheme launched by the Narendra Modi government to be scrapped
• Farmers to get guarantee of Minimum Support Price for their crops
• Full statehood to be ensured for Delhi
• Plans to create two crore jobs every year
• Promise to get rid of the policy of giving safe heavens to corrupt people, free the country from corruption
• Plans to simplify Goods and Services Tax (GST), eye on surpassing the trade capacity of China

Kejriwal Says If BJP Retains Power, Amit Shah Will Replace Modi, Yogi Adityanath Will Lose CMship


Shah debunks claim; asserts Modi will become PM again and complete full term till 2029

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal appears to have sharpened his political skills during his month-and-a-half judicial custody in Tihar Jail, and turned a political pundit, going by his first statements after being granted interim bail till June 1 by the Supreme Court in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi Liquor Policy scam.

While asserting that the BJP is not getting a majority in the Lok Sabha elections, he at the same predicted that if the saffron party were to retain power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not lead the government after he turns 75 years of age on September 17, 2025 but make way for Union Home Minister Amit Shah, by sidelining Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, widely acknowledged as the second most powerful Hindutva face in the BJP.

Union home minister Amit Shah while addressing a press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday rebunked Kejriwal’s claim and asserted that Narendra Modi will become PM again and complete his full tenure till 2029

Mocking Kejriwal’s assertion that Modi had himself made the rule that BJP leaders will retire after attaining the age of 75 years, as happened to LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and many others, Shah hit back affirming that there is no such provision in the BJP constitution and that Modi will become Prime Minister again and complete his full term till 2029. BJP national president JP Nadda seconded Shah’s stand in a post on X.

Kejriwal pointed out that “These people ask the INDIA alliance who will be their prime minister. I ask the BJP who will be your prime minister?” He claimed that “PM Modi is seeking votes not for himself but for Amit Shah …. I want to ask Modi Ji, who will fulfill your guarantees?”

He warned that if the BJP forms a government at the Centre again, all main Opposition leaders will be sent to jail. “Our (AAP) ministers, Hemant Soren, ministers of Mamata Banerjee’s party are in jail…If they win again, then Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Tejashwi Yadav, Pinarayi Vijayan, Uddhav Thackeray and other opposition leaders will all be in jail.”

Alleging that BJP is treading the path of “one nation, one leader”, he cautioned the people, “That one ‘taanashah’ (dictator) will destroy democracy in this country.”


SC Grants Interim Bail To Kejriwal Till June 1; Lays Down 5 Conditions

File photo of Delhi CM & AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal

In a major relief for Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who is in judicial custody in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam, the Supreme Court on Friday (May 10, 2024) granted interim bail to him till June 1, the last day of the seven-stage polling, solely for the purpose of electioneering, despite his plea before the court being vehemently opposed by the Enforcement Directorate.

During the hearing of the appeal on May 7, the top court had hinted at granting conditional interim bail to Kejriwal in order to enable him to campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. It had observed that it was dealing with the case of an elected chief minister, not a habitual offender, and the general elections take place only once in 5 years.

Following the court’s suggestion, the ED had on Thursday filed a fresh affidavit vehemently opposing the interim bail plea.

In the affidavit, the ED argued that the “right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right”.

The central probe agency also submitted that a politician cannot claim a higher status than an ordinary citizen and is not entitled to differential treatment.

ED has maintained before the court that Kejriwal is the “kingpin” in the scam and directly involved in demanding kickbacks from liquor barons.

Welcoming the verdict of the Supreme Court, the AAP leadership said with it not only had Arvind Kejriwal been granted bail, but truth, constitution and democracy had also won.

Conditions set for the interim bail:

* He shall furnish bail bonds in the sum of Rs.50,000/- with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Jail Superintendent;

* He shall not visit the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat;

* He shall be bound by the statement made on his behalf that he shall not sign official files unless it is required and necessary for obtaining clearance/ approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi;

* He will not make any comment with regard to his role in the present case; and

* He will not interact with any of the witnesses and/or have access to any official files connected with the case.

ED Opposes Interim Bail To Kerjiwal In Delhi Liquor Policy Scam

File photo of Delhi CM & AAP National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal in ED custody
In a fresh affidavit filed in the Supreme Court a day ahead of the resumed hearing on the interim bail plea in the PMLA case, ED asserted that “right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right”

Two days after a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta showed its inclination towards granting conditional interim bail to arrested Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal to campaign in the Lok Sabha elections, and a day before it is set to resume hearing in the matter, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday (May 9, 2024) filed a fresh affidavit in the court vehemently opposing the interim bail plea.

Opposing the Court’s suggestion to grant Kejriwal interim bail on the condition that he will only indulge in campaigning for the elections and not discharge any official duties, the ED argued that  the “right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right”.

The central probe agency also submitted that a politician cannot claim a higher status than an ordinary citizen and is not entitled to differential treatment.

ED had arrested Kejriwal on March 21 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the scam involving the since scrapped Delhi Excise Policy and is currently under judicial custody. It has been maintaining in the court that he is the “kingpin” in the scam and directly involved in demanding kickbacks from liquor barons.

In its fresh affidavit, ED contended that Arvind Kejriwal had used the same excuse of being busy in electioneering in five states, which went to polls earlier, while avoiding repeated summons issued by it. It reasoned that around 123 elections have taken place around the country in the past three years, and if interim bail is granted each time to politicians on the pretext of election campaigning, then no politician can be arrested and kept in judicial custody.

It further pointed out that in the past politicians have contested elections while in judicial custody, and have won too, but they were never granted interim bail.

Will, or will not Kejriwal be granted interim bail by the Supreme Court tomorrow! The country will be watching eagerly.

Sam Pitroda Kicks Off Political Storm With ‘Racial’ Comments, Resigns After Cong Distances Itself

Sam Pitroda: In the eye of a political storm


After Supriya Shrinate’s ‘Mandi rate’ comment on noted actress Kangana Ranaut getting the BJP ticket to contest the Mandi Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala’s controversial reference to the saffron party’s Mathura MP and evergreen ‘Dream Girl’ Hema Malini, the Congress jug of embarrassments finally appears to have spilled over.

Then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s famous modernization and digitalization days advisor Sam Pitroda has been ensnared in the eye of a political storm by making comparisons of Indians from different parts of the country to people from other countries, continents and races, which have been orchestrated as being “racist”, sending a deeply embarrassed Congress scurrying for cover.

Within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders beginning to rake up Pitroda’s comments to attack the Congress, terming the party “racist”, the grand old party was compelled to distance itself from the comments, calling them “unfortunate and unacceptable”. Taking the fire-fighting further, the party later announced that Pitroda has resigned as Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress on his own will.

Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh posted on X: “The analogies drawn by Mr Sam Pitroda in a podcast to illustrate India’s diversity are most unfortunate and unacceptable. The Indian National Congress completely dissociates itself from these analogies.”

Congress Spokesperson Supriya Shrinate’s social media post which was later taken down

In another X post later he declared that “Mr Sam Pitroda has decided to step down as Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress of his own accord. The Congress President has accepted his decision.”

In a recent interview with The Statesman, Pitroda had said: “We could hold together a country as diverse as India — where people on East look like Chinese, people on West look like Arab, people on North look like, maybe, White!, and people in South look like Africans. It doesn’t matter. We are all brothers and sisters.”

Though apparently Pitroda may not have meant his comments to be racist in nature, and said it in a lighter vein, in a surcharged election atmosphere it provided the BJP with enough gunpowder to blast the Congress.

Addressing an election rally in Telangana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanded a response from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, asserting that the country “won’t tolerate disrespect on the basis of the colour of skin”. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lashed out at Sam Pitroda for his “racist” remark, saying that it reveals the mindset and attitude of Rahul Gandhi’s “mentor”.

Who is Sam Pitroda?

Sam Pitroda, an information and communications technology (ICT) expert with 50 years of experience in the field, was advisor to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during the 1980s, in the rank of Union cabinet minister. During the time, he led among other critical projects, six technology missions in the country related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy production, and oil seeds.

His profile on his website says that Pitroda is a serial entrepreneur having started several companies in the United States. He holds around 20 honorary PhD’s, close to 100 worldwide patents, and has published five books and numerous papers and lectured widely all over the world. He lives in Chicago.

3 Independent MLAs Withdraw Support To Nayab Saini Govt, Reducing It To Minority

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda addresses a press conference in Rohtak on Tuesday where three independent MLAs supporting the Nayab Singh Saini-led BJP government announced switching their support to the Congress

However, no immediate threat of the government falling; Constitution provides cushion of 4 more months; assembly elections due in Sept-Oct

Weeks ahead of the May 25 Lok Sabha polls in the state, three of the independent Haryana MLAs supporting the Nayab Singh Saini led BJP government on Tuesday (07.05.2024) announced that they are withdrawing their support to the government and henceforth will be supporting the Congress, reducing the government to a minority, but with no immediate threat of the government falling.

Though the three MLAs – Sombir Sangwan from Charkhi Dadri, Dharampal Gondar from Nilokheri, and Randhir Gollen from Pundri – made the announcement in the presence of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state Congress president Udai Bhan at a press conference in Rohtak, they are yet to convey their withdrawal of support decision in writing to the Vidhan Sabha speaker.

Earlier, there was speculation that a fourth independent MLA supporting the government – Rakesh Daulatabad from Badshapur – would also join them in announcing the decision but at the time of the evening press conference only these three turned up.

At the press conference, state Congress president Udai Bhan asserted that the BJP with 40 MLAs in the 90-member vidhan sabha (with a current strength of 88), and needing support of 45 members for a majority, had been reduced to a minority. Therefore, the Nayab Singh Saini government had no moral right to stay in office. The chief minister should resign immediately and fresh elections should be held to the Vidhan Sabha, he added.

On the other hand Hooda demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.

However, this is unlikely to happen because of the constitutional provision which provides cushion of four more months to the Nayab Singh Saini government, which successfully defeated a no-confidence motion piloted by the Congress on March 13, 2024 immediately after Manohar Lal unexpectedly resigned as chief minister and Saini took over from him.

At that time the BJP government had been supported by these three and other independent MLAs along with some legislators from the JJP despite the BJP-JJP having earlier broken off their more than four years post-poll alliance. As per a constitutional provision, no-confidence motion cannot be brought up in the state assembly for six months from the date of the last motion.

Even otherwise, with assembly elections due to be held in the state in September-October this year, no party, including the Congress, would seriously try to topple the government. Congress, the second largest party in the state assembly, with 30 MLAs, 10 less than the ruling BJP, does not find itself in a comfortable position to muster a majority.

It was widely anticipated that the independent MLAs, who supported the Nayab Singh Saini government sail through the no-confidence motion, will be accommodated in the new ministry, but that did not happen, which could be one of the reasons for three of them to switch their support to the Congress.

It remains to be seen how much this switchover will help the Congress in its electoral prospects both in the forthcoming Lok Sabha, as well as the following Vidhan Sabha elections.

High Profile Exits From Delhi Congress: Did Party Get It Wrong!

Former two-time Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely being welcomed into the BJP fold by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri as party's national general secretary Vinod Tawde and others look on.
All five who joined BJP – Arvinder Singh Lovely, Raj Kumar Chauhan, Naseeb Singh, Neeraj Basoya, and Amit Malik – are influential grassroots leaders

The recent spate of resignations by high profile Congress leaders in Delhi, protesting the party’s alliance with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which the grand old party has all along been holding responsible for its downfall in the National Capital on the basis of “fake charges of corruption” against the then Congress government in the state, has further queered the political pitch for the grand old party.

The choice of two party candidates Kanhaiya Kumar (North East Delhi) and Udit Raj (North West Delhi) has also been a sticking point in the dissent within the Delhi Congress as they are being termed as “total strangers to Delhi Congress”.

High profile former Delhi Congress leaders Arvinder Singh Lovely, Raj Kumar Chauhan, Naseeb Singh, Neeraj Basoya, and Amit Malik joining the BJP. By striking an unequal alliance with its now INDIA block partner AAP – it is contesting three Lok Sabha seats (Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, and North West Delhi), leaving the remaining four (New Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi, and East Delhi) to the ruling party in the state – the Congress was hoping to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and pick up a few seats to safeguard its existence in Delhi.

But by imposing its decision on a dissenting state party, the high command may just have got its calculations wrong.

The five Delhi state Congress leaders, who resigned from the party one after the other, and later together joined the BJP (which won all seven Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, with a vote share exceeding 50%), are all very influential leaders and are sure to hurt the electoral prospects of not only the Congress, but also the alliance as a whole.

While Arvinder Singh Lovely, the most prominent among the five, has been state party president twice, successive four times MLA from Gandhi Nagar constituency (1998-2015) and cabinet minister for 10 long years in the Sheila Dikshit led Congress government, Raj Kumar Chauhan represented Mangol Puri assembly constituency for four consecutive terms (1993-2013) and remained minister for 10 years.

Naseeb Singh has represented Vishwas Nagar for three consecutive terms (1998-2013) and Neeraj Basoya won the Kasturba Nagar seat in 2008. Moreover, both Naseeb Singh and Neeraj Basoya had also been appointed the AICC (All India Congress Committee) observers for North West Delhi and West Delhi seat in the forthcoming elections.

Amit Malik, apart from being the party’s Delhi youth wing president, has also led the Delhi unit of its students wing (NSUI), besides remaining president of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) in the past.

Arvinder Singh Lovely addressing a press conference to announce his resignation as Delhi Congress president

By appointing Devendra Yadav, AICC in-charge of Punjab, as interim president of Delhi Congress, the party has further exposed the glaring contradictions in its alliance with AAP. While in Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, and Chandigarh, the two parties are in an alliance, AAP insisted, and is contesting all 13 Lok Sabha seats alone in Punjab, where also it is the ruling party and Congress is its bitter rival. In these two positions, Devendra Yadav will find it increasingly difficult to publicly reconcile the party’s two diametrically opposite stands towards the AAP.

As for the two Lok Sabha candidates from Delhi in the eye of the storm within the party, Kanhaiya Kumar, a highly controversial former president of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a CPI candidate from Begusarai in Bihar but lost by a big margin to Giriraj Singh of the BJP. He joined the Congress in 2021.

Udit Raj, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who hails from Uttar Pradesh, after resigning from service had launched his own Indian Justice Party (IJP), which he had later merged with the BJP in 2014. Soon after, the dalit leader fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the BJP ticket from North West Delhi (SC) constituency, defeating former cabinet minister and current deputy speaker of the Delhi legislative assembly Rakhi Birla of the AAP by over one lakh votes. He left the BJP and joined the Congress in 2019 after being denied re-nomination as the party candidate by the saffron party ahead of the lok sabha elections.



Rahul Gandhi Shifts Venue Of Home Game To Last Family Bastion, Raebareli

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi filing his nomination papers from Raebareli constituency in Uttar Pradesh on 03.05.2024. He is also contesting from Wayanand in Kerala, where polling has already been held.
His mother Sonia Gandhi had retained the seat in 2019 despite the Modi wave, through by a much reduced margin of 1.67 lakh votes

Having played out a difficult away game, to use IPL parlance, at Wayanad in Kerala, Rahul Gandhi is finally back to play an even more difficult home game, not in Amethi, but in Raebareli, the last bastion standing of the Gandhi family in their traditional home state Uttar Pradesh.

Ending weeks of suspense over party nominations to the two seats traditionally held by the Gandhi family, the Congress at the eleventh hour early on Friday morning released a list of party candidates, naming Rahul Gandhi from Raebareli and longtime family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi, where the former had lost for the first time since 2004 to Smriti Irani of the BJP by 55,000 votes in the 2019 general elections.

Friday being the last day of filing nominations for the constituency, which goes to the polls in the fifth phase on May 20, Rahul rushed to Raebareli to file his papers. He was accompanied to the returning officer’s office by his mother Sonia Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and brother-in-law Robert Vadra. Earlier, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress General Secretary Incharge of Organisation KC Venugopal were also seen with the Gandhi family at the airport.

This is the second time Sonia Gandhi is leaving her seat for her son. Entering the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1999 from Amethi, a seat held earlier by her assassinated husband, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, she made way for her son’s maiden election from the seat in 2004 and moved to Raebareli. She held the seat for 20 years before vacating it recently on shifting to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

Raebareli, along with Amethi, have been the Gandhi family’s boroughs. Barring two truncated terms, when Raj Narain of the Janata Party held the seat post the Emergency (1977-1980) defeating Indira Gandhi, and Ashok Singh of the BJP represented the constituency in 1996-1999, it has been held at various times since 1952 by a member of the Gandhi family or people close to it.

After Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi initially held the seat from 1952-1960, the constituency has been represented by Congress leaders RP Singh (1960-1962), Baijnath Kureel (1962-1967), Indira Gandhi (1967-77, 1980), Arun Nehru (1980-1989), Sheila Kaul (1989-1996), Rajiv Gandhi’s close friend and associate Satish Sharma (1999-2004), and Sonia Gandhi (2004-2024).

Despite the Modi wave, Sonia Gandhi held on to the seat in 2019, winning by a reduced but fair margin of 1.67 lakh votes. Hence, it is being considered a safer seat for Rahul Gandhi than Amethi.

Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Raebareli comes a day after the BJP on Thursday, after patiently waiting for the Congress move, finally announced the re-nomination of Uttar Pradesh minister and three-time legislative council member (MLC) Dinesh Pratap Singh as the party candidate from the constituency. A grassroots level leader, he had given Sonia Gandhi a spirited fight in the 2019 elections, eventually reducing her margin of victory from 3.52 lakh votes in 2014 to 1.67 lakh votes.

Now on, Raebareli will become the hotbed of electioneering, with the Congress and its alliance partner, Akhilesh Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP), in Uttar Pradesh, as also the entire INDIA alliance rallying behind Rahul Gandhi to ensure his victory and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marshalling all its forces to defeat him. The Congress is contesting 17 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh leaving the remaining 63 seats to the SP as part of a seat-sharing deal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took no time in attacking Rahul Gandhi. Addressing an election rally at Bardhman, West Bengal he said he had already said that ‘shahabzade’ is losing from Wayanad and out of fear of losing from Wayanad, immediately after polling is over he will start looking for another seat for himself. Now he has had to run away from Amethi and choose the Raebareli seat.

Taking a further dig at Rahul Gandhi’s repeated use of the words ‘darro matt’ (don’t be afraid) while addressing the prime minister in his speeches, he said these people are going around and telling everyone ‘darro matt’….. I will also tell them this – ‘darro matt, bhaago matt’ (don’t be afraid, don’t run)