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

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.

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

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)





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