One of the most eye-catching constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, which is significantly a traditional bastion for the Congress party for years, witnessed an interesting contest between the president of the Grand Old Party and BJP’s candidate Union Minister Smriti Irani. In a do or die battle in this election, BJP fielded Union Minister Smriti Irani against three times sitting MP and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. While Irani aims to dethrone the Congress chief from his stronghold, Rahul Gandhi is trying to retain his seat in 2019 polls.
With the final figure released by the Election Commission, Smriti Irani has won Amethi (49.71 percent votes) by a vote margin of 56,036 votes against Rahul Gandhi who came to a close second with 43.86 percent votes.
Earlier, she took to Twitter to describe her feelings about decimating the Gandhi bastion:
Amethi went to polls in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 29 amid the charges of 'booth-rigging' by Smriti Irani and the sitting MP being absent from the constituency during the polls. With Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry in the political fray as the party’s General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Amethi witnessed high-pitched and heated election campaigning from the newly-inducted member of the Congress party. This election season, Priyanka Gandhi seemed to be more concerned about Amethi, all thanks to the strong competition from Smriti Irani and consistent attacks at Rahul Gandhi, alleging lack of developmental programs by the MP, and jibes at him over his absence from the constituency in the past 15 years of him being in the office.
Along with the test of Priyanka Gandhi’s potential as an influential leader, the Congress party invested its full might in securing Amethi for Rahul Gandhi. From massive roadshows on the day of his nomination filing to top party leaders campaigning in the constituency for their party president.
During the campaign trail, Smriti Irani undoubtedly gave him the run for his money, with virtually camping in Amethi and addressing the problems of the people personally. Top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addressed an election rally in the constituency, attacking the Gandhi family for the lack of facilities in Amethi.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Smriti Irani was defeated by Rahul Gandhi with a significant vote-ratio of about 3:4 which sums to over a lakh votes. Seemingly, Irani’s tough challenge led to the Congress president contesting from a second seat this election from Kerala’s Wayanad.
Rahul Gandhi made his electoral debut from Amethi in 2004 by winning the constituency with over 66 per cent votes. While 2009 Lok Sabha polls witnessed an increased in the vote-share to nearly 72 per cent, 2014 elections saw both the vote share and winning margin reducing significantly with Smriti Irani contesting against him. With 46.71 percent, Rahul Gandhi’s vote-share in 2014 was the lowest for a Congress candidate from the Gandhi family in Amethi.