Congress president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers from Amethi on Wednesday, seeking a fourth parliamentary term in a region of eastern Uttar Pradesh that he has represented since 2004.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, who lost to him in 2014 despite polling over 3 lakh votes, will file her nomination there tomorrow: April 11.
Sonia Gandhi was with Rahul when he filed his papers; the UPA chairperson is herself a former MP from Amethi. Also present were Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary for UP East, and her husband Robert Vadra. (Click here to read a journalist’s account of Rahul Gandhi’s “shaky hands” before his first race in Amethi.)
The Amethi race will be closely watched, as will the 79 others in Uttar Pradesh, which sends more MPs to the Lok Sabha than any other Indian state.
A Congress bastion, Amethi has been represented by several members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, including former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In fact, parties other than the Congress have represented Amethi only for two brief spells in a 52-year period beginning in 1967.
The last time Amethi had a BJP MP was in 1998-99.
RAHUL WILL CONTEST FROM TWO SEATS
In addition to his bid to retain Amethi, Rahul Gandhi is standing for election from Kerala’s Wayanad. He filed his nomination last week.
The Left, which governs Kerala, has criticised the move — although Rahul has promised he will not say a word against them.
Smriti Irani, the BJP runner-up in the 2014 election in Amethi, has described the Congress chief’s decision to contest in Wayanad an insult to his Uttar Pradesh constituents.
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