Updated February 14th, 2024 at 18:39 IST

Sonia Gandhi Quits Electoral Politics: Is This The End of Congress?

Sonia Gandhi's decision to file nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan raises questions about the future of the Congress party.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Sonia Gandhi Retires From Electoral Politics | Image:X
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New Delhi: Bringing curtains down on her 25-year-long stint as a member of the Lok Sabha (from Rae Bareli), former Congress president Sonia Gandhi's decision to file nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan raises questions about the future of the Congress party. The Italian-born bahu of the Gandhi family decides to move from the Lok Sabha to the Rajya Sabha, explaining it as a step back due to health concerns and a desire to step away from the intense electoral politics, is significant, as the trend shows how the experienced Congress leader is slowly stepping back from being involved in active politics, at a time when the grand old party is crumbling. 

 

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Sonia Retires From Active Politics: What Lies Ahead For Congress? 

As Sonia Gandhi takes a more subdued role, it naturally sparks curiosity about what lies ahead for the Congress party, especially given the ongoing changes and challenges. 

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Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi,  on Wednesday, has brought the curtains down on her the two-and-a-half decade long journey witnessing the high of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance forming government twice and the low of the party plunging to its lowest ever score in the lower house of Parliament.

In 2004, she led the Congress to an unexpected victory in the Lok Sabha elections. During that time, she shifted from Amethi to the neighboring constituency of Rae Bareli, allowing her son Rahul to make his Lok Sabha debut from Amethi.

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Amidst the controversy surrounding her position in the National Advisory Council and the issue of holding an office of profit, she tendered her resignation as a Lok Sabha MP on March 23, 2006. However, she was re-elected from Rae Bareli with a remarkable margin of over four lakh votes in May 2006.

She secured victory for the third time from Rae Bareli in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, during which the Congress achieved a significant milestone by winning 206 seats, the highest count by a single party since 1991.

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Nonetheless, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress suffered a drastic setback, managing to secure only 44 seats nationwide. In Uttar Pradesh, the party won merely two seats, both from the family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli.

Gandhi had then emerged victorious again from Rae Bareli, while Rahul faced defeat in Amethi. Despite this setback, the Congress marginally increased its tally, reaching 52 seats. However, this time, the situation appears more challenging for the Congress party, given that the alliance it had pinned its hopes on, INDI, has fallen apart owing to seat-sharing negotiations.   

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Will Priyanka Take Her Place?

Sonia Gandhi's decision to leave Rae Bareli has sparked speculation about whether her daughter Priyanka might take her place and enter the Lok Sabha from the seat that Sonia has long represented. However, Congress party insiders suggest that there's no concrete information yet regarding the electoral plans for Amethi and Rae Bareli.

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Even though Sonia Gandhi won't be seen in the front row of the Lok Sabha anymore, where her last speech focused on advocating for the women's reservation bill, her influence within the party's parliamentary group remains strong because of her presence in the Rajya Sabha. It's anticipated that she will continue to lead as the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

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Published February 14th, 2024 at 18:34 IST