Sonia back on Rae Bareli poll pitch, as campaigner for Rahul | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Sonia back on Rae Bareli poll pitch, as campaigner for Rahul

By, Lucknow
May 18, 2024 06:08 AM IST

Sonia Gandhi emotionally hands over son Rahul to Rae Bareli, urging voters to treat him like family. Rahul vows to defeat Modi in upcoming elections.

Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi returned to her Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli on Friday, making an emotional pitch for her son Rahul Gandhi who is contesting from the family pocket borough this time in what was her first physical campaign stop in the Uttar Pradesh town this election season.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Rae Bareli on Friday. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Rae Bareli on Friday. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Sonia Gandhi — who won Rae Bareli by 167,000 votes in 2019, making it the only seat the party won in Uttar Pradesh — said she was handing over her son to the people of the constituency.

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“I am giving you my son (Rahul Gandhi). Treat him like your own as you treated me. Rahul will never disappoint you,” said Sonia Gandhi at a large public rally in the constituency she represented for 20 years, winning the seat in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stood behind Sonia Gandhi, who moved to the Rajya Sabha earlier this year. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, along with other senior leaders of the Congress and the SP, was also present on the stage.

Polling in Rae Bareli will be held on May 20.

“Rae Bareli is my family in the same way as Amethi is my home. I have fond memories attached to these places. Our family’s roots are attached to this land for the past 100 years. Our relationship is pure like the Ganga. It began with the farmers’ agitation of Rae Bareli (1921) and continues even now... I have closely seen Indira Gandhi working. She had a place for the people (of Rae Bareli) in her heart. I have given Rahul and Priyanka the same education that Indira Gandhi and the people of Rae Bareli gave me...,” Sonia Gandhi said.

“I taught the same lessons to Rahul and Priyanka which Indira Gandhi and the people of Rae Bareli had taught me. To respect all, protect the weak, fight against injustice for the rights of people. Don’t be afraid, because your roots of struggle and traditions are very deep,” she said.

“I have never (felt) myself alone because of your love. You have given me whatever I have…You gave me a chance to serve you as an MP for 20 years. This is the biggest asset of my life,” she said.

Rahul Gandhi is facing Dinesh Pratap Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Thakur Prasad Yadav.

At the rally on Friday, Rahul Gandhi said the “youth across the country have made up their mind that they don’t want Narendra Modi”, adding that the Opposition will form the government this time.

“Narendra Modi will not remain Prime Minister after June 4 and the INDIA alliance government will be formed. That government will be of the public,” said Rahul Gandhi.

Earlier at the rally, Priyanka Gandhi said the current government neglected the voices of the farmers, women, poor and the youth.

“Today a storm has kicked up in the country. It is the voice of the nation that the dictatorship of the BJP government should be removed and a new politics with a new awakening be established in the country.

“Send a message from Rae Bareli to the nation that you need clean politics and throw away the government of Narendra Modi,” she said.

Hitting out at Modi and the BJP, Akhilesh said, “Let them also see and hear that Rahul Gandhiji’s true relationship is with Rae Bareli. If ‘Ra’ is for Rae Bareli then ‘Ra’ is also for Rahul.”

Accusing the Modi government of drowning the country in debt, he said, “Now, the public is telling them that they will remove you fata-fatt (quickly).”

At a rally in Fatehpur, Modi mocked Rahul Gandhi for contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli instead of Amethi which he lost to the BJP’s Smriti Irani in 2019. He said that the voting in the first four phases alone is in favour of BJP. “Currently, four phases of elections have been held in the country. But, the common man has defeated the INDI Alliance in these 4 phases only,” he said alleging that the Opposition alliance is falling apart.

“Gandhi family has treated Rae Bareli and Amethi as its property. The people there are, however, not willing to tolerate them and will teach them a lesson in 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” said Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Avnish Tyagi.

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