Congress gears up for D-Day in Rae Bareli, Amethi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress gears up for D-Day in Rae Bareli, Amethi

By, Rae Bareli/amethi
May 03, 2024 04:50 AM IST

A Congress legal team, which arrived in Rae Bareli on Wednesday, visited Amethi, too, on Thursday and gave final touches to the preparations for nominations

The Congress has stepped up preparations to make the filing of nomination papers for the Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats on Friday a big event amid persisting uncertainty over the party’s candidates for the two seats, once considered the party’s bastions in Uttar Pradesh.

All eyes are set on the Congress’s announcement of candidates for Rae Bareli and Amethi. (FILE PHOTO)
All eyes are set on the Congress’s announcement of candidates for Rae Bareli and Amethi. (FILE PHOTO)

All eyes are set on the Congress’s announcement of candidates even as the BJP has decided to field Uttar Pradesh minister Dinesh Pratap Singh from Rae Bareli. Singh had contested the 2019 poll too as the BJP candidate from Rae Bareli.

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The BJP has already nominated Union minister and Amethi MP Smriti Irani from the Amethi Lok Sabha seat.

Both Amethi and Rae Bareli go to polls in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 20 and the nominations close on Friday.

Senior Congress leader KL Sharma, who worked as Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha representative in the past, held meetings with party workers at the party offices in Rae Bareli and Amethi. He asked the party workers to prepare for the nomination day.

ALSO READ | Suspense continues as Congress yet to name LS candidates for Amethi, Rae Bareli

“We have already requested that both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi should contest the poll from the two seats. We are preparing, hoping that the party will field them,” said Sharma.

A Congress legal team, which arrived in Rae Bareli on Wednesday, visited Amethi, too, on Thursday and gave final touches to the preparations. All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (incharge UP) Avinash Pandey will also be in Amethi on Friday to hold a coordination meeting with the Samajwadi Party leaders.

There are also indications that the party is planning road shows/processions at both places and flowers are being arranged for the big events.

“Yes, we have obtained permission for a road show. We have called workers to the Congress’ Central office in Rae Bareli at 9.30am and made all the arrangements and ordered flowers for the big event hoping a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family (Priyanka Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi) will file the nomination papers,” Rae Bareli District Congress Committee president Pankaj Tiwari said.

ALSO READ | BJP announces candidate for Raebareli; it's UP minister Dinesh Pratap Singh

Similarly, Amethi District Congress Committee president Pradeep Singhal said, “We have called our workers to the party office at Gauriganj to proceed for the nomination thereafter. We are getting ready for the road show and arranging flowers and garlands for the big event.”

“We are ready with the barat (marriage procession) and waiting for the bridegroom (candidates) to arrive at both the places,” a senior Congress leader said in Amethi.

“Rae Bareli and Amethi seats are traditional seats of the Congress. So, the party leaders are not willing to take any chances. The delay reflects poorly on the organisational skills of the party, even if strategic,” said Professor SK Dwivedi, former head of the department of political science, Lucknow University.

As the Nehru-Gandhi family has remained connected with both Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats for years, the local people, too, are keenly watching the developments here. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi won Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat for the first time in 1967. Her husband Feroze Gandhi won the election from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat in 1957. Indira Gandhi won the seat again in 1971 though she lost to Raj Narain in 1977. She wrested the seat in the 1980 Lok Sabha elections. Sonia Gandhi, who won her first Lok Sabha election from Amethi in 1999, shifted to Rae Bareli in 2004 and won. She also won the seat in 2006 (bypoll), 2009, 2014 and 2019. She has now taken Rajya Sabha route via Rajasthan. Speculation has been rife since then that either Priyanka Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi will contest the 2024 poll from Rae Bareli.

Amethi’s connection with the Congress’s first family, however, can be traced back to 1977 when Indira Gandhi’s younger son Sanjay Gandhi unsuccessfully contested the election from the seat. Sanjay Gandhi, however, won the seat in 1980. Rajiv Gandhi won the seat in the 1981 bypoll held after Sanjay’s death in 1980.

After he became Prime Minister following Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Rajiv Gandhi won the seat again in the 1984 Lok Sabha election defeating Maneka Gandhi. He retained the seat in 1989 though his party lost power at the Centre. He again won in 1991. The polling in Amethi was held before his assassination on May 21, 1991. In the 1991 by-election caused by his death, Captain Satish Sharma (Congress) won the seat.

After Sonia Gandhi’s decision to shift to Rae Bareli, Rahul Gandhi won the Amethi seat in 2004, 2009, and 2014. Rahul Gandhi, however, lost the poll to Union minister Smriti Irani in 2019.

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