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Will Rahul Gandhi Retain Raebareli or Wayanad?

Rahul Gandhi
Preeti Bali / 5:53 am / June 13, 2024

Residents of Raebareli are confident that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will not disappoint them, with both political analysts and party insiders suggesting that the deep-rooted Nehru-Gandhi legacy and associated sentiments will ensure Rahul retains this Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha seat.

 

Congress’s Thanksgiving Event in Raebareli

A week after Congress’s significant victories in Raebareli and Amethi, these areas were bustling with activity due to the Congress’s grand Abhaar Sabha (thanksgiving meet) in Bhuemau village, Raebareli. Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed their gratitude to the constituents during this event.

 

Election Victories and Promises

Rahul Gandhi secured the Raebareli seat with a remarkable margin of 364,422 votes, while loyal Congress member KL Sharma reclaimed the Amethi seat from BJP’s Smriti Irani by over 160,000 votes. Addressing the meet, Rahul assured equitable development for both Raebareli and Amethi, despite being the MP of Raebareli, a promise made to a large gathering that defied the scorching sun.

 

Historical and Emotional Ties

Rahul emphasized the long-standing connection between the Gandhi-Nehru family and Raebareli, attributing his electoral victory to the people’s love and respect for his family, rather than political reasons. He highlighted that this bond dates back to his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to Raebareli about 100 years ago during a farmer agitation.

 

Political Speculations

Rahul’s speech sparked speculations about whether he would retain Raebareli over Kerala’s Wayanad, which he also won by over 390,000 votes. Journalist Sanjiv Bharti pointed to the century-old relationship between the Gandhi family and Raebareli, suggesting that Rahul might choose to keep this seat.

 

Historical Context

Bharti also recalled the 1921 protest in Raebareli where farmers, angered by rumors of their leaders’ deaths, faced brutal police repression resulting in numerous fatalities and injuries. Nehru’s attempt to reach Raebareli was thwarted by the administration fearing escalation, highlighting the long history of political activism in the region.

 

Congress Stronghold

A party insider noted the historical significance of Raebareli as a Congress stronghold since the first general elections in 1952 when Feroze Gandhi, Indira Gandhi’s husband, won the seat. After his death, the seat remained with Congress, later held by Sonia Gandhi for four consecutive terms. Sonia’s letter to Raebareli’s voters affirmed the deep family ties and her gratitude for their unwavering support.

 

Electoral Prospects and Strategy

Rahul Gandhi’s loss of Amethi to Smriti Irani in 2019 led him to contest and win from Wayanad. In the 2019 elections, Sonia Gandhi won Raebareli with 534,918 votes. For the 2024 elections, Congress, in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, contested 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh, winning six.

 

 Party Decision and Future Implications

The state Congress’s political affairs committee proposed that Rahul Gandhi should remain the MP from Raebareli, believing it crucial for regaining political ground in UP. Retaining Raebareli is seen as vital for strengthening state politics, with an eye on the 2027 assembly elections.

 

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