In battleground Amethi, Priyanka pitches it as Smriti Irani vs the Gandhis - Hindustan Times
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In battleground Amethi, Priyanka pitches it as Smriti Irani vs the Gandhis

By, Lucknow
May 10, 2024 08:12 AM IST

Priyanka Gandhi made this campaign pitch as she reached battleground Amethi to address party workers and finalise the poll strategy on Thursday.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Thursday made the 2024 Lok Sabha poll for the Amethi seat a fight between her family and Union minister Smriti Irani and, in an emotional tone, declared she (the Gandhis) would surely win this election.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressing a public meeting in Amethi on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO)
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressing a public meeting in Amethi on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO)

Priyanka Gandhi made this campaign pitch as she reached battleground Amethi to address party workers and finalise the poll strategy on Thursday.

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“We will fight this election as the people’s own election... I will surely win this election,” she said, concluding a nearly 40-minute address at Tendua village in Bahadurpur block near Fursatganj airport, about 100 km south-east from here, late Thursday evening.

“...Smriti Irani will not understand our relationship (Gandhi family’s relationship) with the people of Amethi. She did not come here for you. She came here to defeat Rahul Gandhi. She came to fight Rahul Gandhi and not because of her devotion to you,” Priyanka said in her address that began by mentioning the days of her father former prime minister the late Rajiv Gandhi and referred to his assassination, the people’s emotional connect with the Gandhi family, Sonia Gandhi’s reluctance to join active politics and Rahul Gandhi’s election from the constituency for the first time in 2004.

Priyanka also said “lies” were spread that various projects were brought to Amethi to grab people’s land and that “we did nothing and were indulging in loot.” She said some people got distracted by such things and Rahul Gandhi lost the election (2019) and with this “an old relationship we had with you stopped for a while.”

She said the relationship, however, did not end and would not end.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in 2019, is seeking re-election from the seat while the Congress has fielded Gandhi family loyalist KL Sharma.

Referring to the 1999 Lok Sabha election when Sonia Gandhi contested from this seat and she was taking care of the election, Priyanka Gandhi said Captain Satish Sharma had introduced KL Sharma to her saying, “I am giving you this diamond (KL Sharma). He will remain loyal to you. He will do the work that only a few others can do.” She said after Sonia Gandhi, her brother Rahul Gandhi was elected and he worked hard and brought about development, whatever he could, to Amethi.

Priyanka said during the poll campaign, she realised how the people were connected to her family, and this was not a political relationship. She said a new way of politics was later witnessed (post 2014) in the country which “the people like us could not understand.”

“We had a different understanding. We were told not to tell lies. We were told to respect the people. We were told that the people are supreme, and we were seeking a new way of politics that was using the people’s emotions and misleading the people to gain power.”

She reminded the people how she and her team remained active to help the people during Covid-19 pandemic. She referred to the story of a group of youths who were stuck in Gujarat.

“Our relationship did not end... This relationship is sacred. This relationship is of service, love and a blood relationship. This relationship will never end. Whosoever is elected MP from here and indulges in any kind of politics and tells 2000 lies about us... our relationship will not end.”

“This is the “Karmbhoomi” of my father and so this is a sacred land for me and Rahul Gandhi. This land is sacred for KL Sharma too. KL Sharma knows every street and worker here,” she said.

She targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the PM does not have the courage to tell the people how many jobs have been given and what has been done for the people. She said they called Indira Gandhi, who divided Pakistan, anti-national. She said they accused Rajiv Gandhi of changing the inheritance law to avoid paying tax to inherit Indira Gandhi’s property. “They will never understand that Rajiv Gandhi did not inherit money from his mother. He inherited the legacy of sacrificing his life for the country,” she said.

Earlier, addressing public meetings in Rae Bareli (Sadar) assembly segment, she said, “A new type of politics has unfolded in the country in the past 10 years. Now they know they need not work for the people. They come to you at the time of elections and talk about religion. They ask for votes in the name of religion.”

The Rae Bareli (Sadar) assembly constituency is represented by BJP MLA and former Congress leader Aditi Singh.

Senior Congress leader and Priyanka Gandhi’s elder brother Rahul Gandhi is the party candidate for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat.

Priyanka Gandhi spoke about how her brother was fighting for the people and has not succumbed to anybody even as the BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, were targeting him.

“My brother has struggled a lot. There is no other leader who has been attacked on this scale by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leaders ...he has not succumbed. He is the only leader in the country who is bringing out the truth, speaking about the problems of the farmers, labourers and the poor,” she said.

She listed various projects like National Institute of Fashion Technology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, HAL, BHEL and others that the Congress governments brought to Rae Bareli and Amethi and said the BJP government was using religion to divert attention from the main issues.

Priyanka Gandhi targeted the BJP for speaking ill about her family and said her grandmother former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was called anti-national.

“They (BJP) have spread lies about my father Rajiv Gandhi who laid down his life for the country. He (Rajiv Gandhi) was also called anti-national,” said Priyanka.

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