Updated March 19th, 2024 at 14:52 IST

No Hope Left? Gandhis Deserting Amethi, Raebareli is a Telltale Sign For Congress

Empty roads in Amethi and black flags in Rae Bareli during Rahul Gandhi's 'Nyay' yatra indeed indicated a form of protest or dissatisfaction among people.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Sonia Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra and Robert Vadra | Image:PTI

New Delhi: Though an official confirmation is awaited, several media reports have claimed that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi may not contest from Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. Earlier it was speculated that Rahul could contest from Amethi and Priyanka from Raebareli. For the unversed, both Amethi and Raebareli were considered strongholds of the Gandhi family, with Amethi previously held by Rahul Gandhi and Raebareli by Sonia Gandhi

Empty Roads in Amethi, Black Flags in Rae Bareli  

Empty roads in Amethi and black flags in Rae Bareli during Rahul Gandhi's 'Nyay' yatra indeed indicated a form of protest or dissatisfaction among the local population, particularly towards the Gandhis and Congress.  "In 2019 he left Amethi, today Amethi has left him. If he is confident, then without going to Wayanad (Gandhi's Constituency), let him fight from Amethi," BJP leader and Amethi MP Smriti Irani told media, challenging him to contest from his erstwhile constituency.

"Amethi's empty roads tell us what they feel about Rahul Gandhi," Irani had said while holding a Jan Samwad in Amethi as part of a four-day visit to her parliamentary constituency. In 2019, Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP leader Smriti Irani by a margin of around 55,000 votes.  

Besides, black flags were reportedly shown during Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Raebareli. A video shared by news agency ANI showed two people on the terrace of a building waving black flags as the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra passed by amid sounds of sirens.

Why Amethi is Important For Congress?

Amethi, historically a Congress bastion since 1967, has long been synonymous with the Nehru-Gandhi family's political legacy. With few exceptions in the 1970s and late 1990s, the constituency consistently supported either members of the Nehru-Gandhi family or their loyalists.

Sanjay Gandhi's victory in Amethi in 1980 was followed by his brother Rajiv Gandhi's successful bid in the subsequent by-election in 1981. Rajiv Gandhi continued to represent the seat until 1991. After his assassination, his wife Sonia Gandhi won the Amethi seat in 1999, and subsequently, their son Rahul Gandhi took over and represented the constituency from 2004 to 2019.


Congress slept, BJP swept Amethi 

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi contested from both Amethi and Wayanad, winning the latter. Despite his victory in Wayanad, his loss to Smriti Irani in Amethi by a margin of over 55,000 votes was a significant setback for the Congress. It marked the end of an era and posed a challenge to the party's stronghold in what was once considered a safe seat.  


Is Congress Facing Threat in Rae Bareli Too?

Since the first Lok Sabha election in 1951-52, Rae Bareli, a bastion of the Congress party, has seen electoral success. Out of the 20 Lok Sabha elections and by-elections held in the constituency, the Congress emerged victorious 17 times. The only exception from this trend was observed in 1977 when Indira Gandhi faced defeat to a Janata Dal candidate following the lifting of the Emergency, and in the 1990s when the BJP's Ashok Singh secured victory on two occasions.      


Rae Bareli has traditionally been considered a stronghold of the Congress party, given its historical association with the Gandhi family. constituency has been represented by former party president Sonia Gandhi for five consecutive terms since Independence.  However, with Sonia's decision not to contest again and her election to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan, the constituency is left vulnerable.

The absence of Sonia Gandhi's candidacy raises questions about the future of Congress's dominance in Rae Bareli and underscores the shifting political dynamics in the region.


Besides, political dynamics can also shift over time due to various factors such as local issues, changing demographics, and evolving political sentiments. Moreover, factors such as the emergence of alternative political forces, dissatisfaction with incumbent leadership, or shifts in voter preferences can all contribute to a perceived threat to the Congress party's stronghold.


Published March 19th, 2024 at 12:30 IST