In a massive political scoop, sources have told Republic TV that Rahul Gandhi - who has been contesting the past three Lok Sabha elections from Amethi, a stronghold for the Congress party since decades - is unsure about winning his constituency this time around, and hence, may well fight the upcoming polls from two different seats.
Amethi is one of the two constituencies in Uttar Pradesh along with Rae Bareli that are historic bastions of the Congress party and the Gandhis. Rahul Gandhi has been contesting in that seat since 2004, and has been coming out victorious on each occasion.
However, this time around, the party seems unsure about its president's success, and hence, has come up with three different parliamentary constituencies, out of which from two, he could fight the much-awaited 2019 elections.
Apart from Amethi, Rahul Gandhi may also contest the polls from either of Chhindwara - the fortress of newly-installed Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath - or Nanded in Maharashtra - another seat which is presently held by the Congress.
Sources have also mentioned that the party is considering the options of Punjab and Chandigarh from where Rahul Gandhi could contest. However, the final call from which seat the Congress president will contest is yet to be taken, apart from Amethi.
In 2004 and 2009, the Congress president came out victorious with a huge margin from Amethi, finishing with more than double the votes of the runners-up. Though, in 2014, he received stiff competition from BJP's Smriti Irani, now Textiles Minister. Rahul Gandhi won just over 4 lakh votes, and got 46.71 % vote share in 2014. Smriti Irani came a close second, winning over 3 lakh seats with a vote share of 34.38% - a sizeable dent in the Gandhis' fortress, as can be evidenced from the fact that apart from in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Congress was wiped out in India's most populous state.
Smriti Irani has also been a regular visitor to Amethi in the intervening period, even as Rahul Gandhi has been accused of turning a blind eye towards his own constituency. This was most recently witnessed in Parliament when in response to the Congress' allegations regarding the Modi government purportedly doing an injustice to state-owned aerospace major HAL, Raksha Mantri accused the Congress president of shedding crocodile tears and asked him if he had bothered to do anything about the HAL centre at Amethi. Smriti Irani was at Amethi as recently as the first week of January on a day that Rahul Gandhi cancelled his own visit, though she hasn't yet confirmed that she will be contesting the upcoming elections from there. She did, however, guarantee:
"In 2019 people will see Rahul Gandhi losing the polls at the hands of the BJP. A person who can't come to his constituency imagine what will happen to him during the polls. Mark my words, Rahul Gandhi will lose in 2019," she said.