Updated May 3rd, 2024 at 09:02 IST

Gandhis Opt Out of Amethi, Rahul Gandhi To Contest From Rae Bareli Seat

Congress Fields Rahul Gandhi From Rae Bareli, KL Sharma From Amethi

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi | Image: PTI
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New Delhi: In a fresh list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections released by the Congress on Friday, May 3, the party has announced Rahul Gandhi as the Rae Bareli candidate. The party announced that Kishori Lal Sharma will be contesting against Smriti Irani from Amethi Lok Sabha seat. BJP has fielded Dinesh Pratap Singh, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, as its candidate for the Raebareli Lok Sabha seat. 

"In the meeting of the 'Central Election Committee', Mr. Rahul Gandhi has been declared as the Congress candidate from Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh and Mr. Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi for the Lok Sabha elections, 2024," said the Congress party in an official announcement

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Both the seats, Amethi and Rae Bareli, will go to polls on May 20 in the fifth round of the seven-phase general elections and Friday is the last date to file nominations. The seats are considered traditional pocket borough of the Gandhi-Nehru family.

The Contest in Rae Bareli 

Rahul Gandhi will be contesting against BJP' Dinesh Pratap Singh. Singh lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli. Despite facing defeat, Singh managed to garner substantial support, nearly securing four lakh votes. 

The Congress workers have already begun preparations for the nomination filing of Rahul Gandhi. The workers said that they wanted a candidate from the Gandhi family, and whether mother or son it doesn't really matter as long as the candidate is from the family. Rahul Gandhi will hold a roadshow in Rae Bareli ahead of filing his nomination. 

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Why Rae Bareli is Crucial For Congress 

The party has won the Congress bastion in all but three Lok Sabha elections since 1951. Before Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had won over Raebareli three times. The constituency also elected Indira's husband and Congress leader Feroze Gandhi twice, in 1952 and 1957. A member of the Nehru-Gandhi family has not contested the seat just twice, in 1962 and 1999.

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Rae Bareli was the lone seat that Congress won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when BJP swept the state and is held by outgoing MP Sonia Gandhi

Akhilesh's Suggestion to Rahul 

Reports said that Rahul Gandhi had dialled to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday, who advised him to contest from Rae Bareli instead of Amethi. Willing to contest from Rae Bareli to secure victory, but aiming to be a leader from Amethi, Rahul reached out to Akhilesh Yadav for assistance. 

Akhilesh advised Rahul to prioritise building leadership in Amethi for a stronger political foothold. The Congress has allied with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and is contesting 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

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Rahul's Humiliating Defeat in 2019

In a big upset during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Union Minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani secured victory in the Amethi constituency, a stronghold long associated with the Gandhi family. Defying expectations, Irani had secured a landslide victory by a margin of 55,120 votes, garnering a total of 4,68,514 votes, while Rahul Gandhi, the then Congress president, had received 4,13,394 votes. 

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Amethi, Rae Bareli: Long-Held Gandhi Bastions

Lok Sabha seats like Amethi, Rae Bareli, and Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh were considered as 'safe seats' for the members of the Gandhi family. Amethi was represented by Rahul Gandhi from 2004 till 2019, when he was defeated by Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani.

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Rahul Gandhi, in the 2019 elections, also fought from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala and won from there. This time too, Rahul is contesting from Wayanad as the INDI alliance candidate. Wayanad voted on April 26 in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Rae Bareli was the lone seat which the Congress won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP swept the state. Earlier held by Feroze and Indira, Sonia Gandhi won from Rae Bareli. Sonia Gandhi made her political debut in 1999 after taking over as the president of the Congress party. She contested from Amethi Lok Sabha seat and secured victory. In 2004, she shifted to Rae Bareli and has been has been representing it since then.

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Published May 3rd, 2024 at 07:51 IST