Amethi: From Congress Bastion To BJP Stronghold

Amethi: From Congress Bastion To BJP Stronghold

Amethi has been a Gandhi bastion before Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Friday, May 03, 2024, 04:45 PM IST
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Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to wrest the seat from Congress. |

Lucknow: The city of Amethi has been Nehru-Gandhi bastion till 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Smriti Irani of BJP wrested the seat from Rahul Gandhi. Besides being known for its political importance, Amethi also has a historical significance.

History Of The Land

Raja Sodh Dev Singh founded the princely state of Amethi in 966 AD, during the invasion of Turks. Despite facing many challenges throughout history, the state always maintained its honor and dignity, with each king taking good care of it. Raja Sodh Dev ruled the state from 966 AD to 1007 AD. Following the Turks, the Mughal rulers also attacked the erstwhile state.

In the past, Amethi was called Raipur-Amethi. When the train station was built here, it took the name of Amethi and after merging three tehsils of Sultanpur district, namely Amethi, Gauriganj, Musafirkhana, and one tehsil Tiloi of Raebareli district. Initially it was named Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, but later its name was changed back to Amethi.

Political Prominence

For decades, Amethi has been a stronghold of the Gandhi family. The Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) has been represented by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi. The town is part of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency and Amethi Assembly constituency, which became reputed as a stronghold of the Indian National Congress party. The Congress leaders belonging to the Nehru-Gandhi family won several elections from Amethi during 1980–2014. In 2019, Smriti Irani of Bharatiya Janata Party won this seat.

People's Party

There are multiple generations of families in Amethi who would testify their loyalty towards the Gandhi. When asked about their inadequate access to essential facilities, they counter with a tale or two about a hand pump bestowed upon them by the Gandhi's in the past or a family that managed to send their child overseas with the assistance of the Gandhi family.

In the Amethi region, there is a political trend where local power brokers who have been loyal to the Gandhi family for a long time play a significant role in determining the election results. In rural areas, the village head, known as the mukhiya, usually decides who will receive the votes. However, there is a shift in the current discourse as Smriti Irani focuses on job creation and development.

Amethi's Development Expectations

Union Minister and current MP, Smriti Irani has been criticising the Nehru-Gandhi family, accusing them of keeping Amethi underdeveloped for over 50 years. She claimed that the family wanted the people to remain poor and helpless, while she emphasised the current government's efforts in providing basic necessities to the region. As the Lok Sabha elections approach, some people are urging Congress to come back to power, as they seem to be fed up with Irani's approach.

2024 Lok Sabha elections

There were speculations that Gandhi family member will contest the Lok Sabha elections this year. But on the last day of nomination on May 3, Congress fielded its old loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma to contest against Smriti Irani.

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