'Amethi Mange Gandhi Parivar': Congress Workers Demand Gandhi Family Candidate From Amethi, Raebareli Lok Sabha Seats

'Amethi Mange Gandhi Parivar': Congress Workers Demand Gandhi Family Candidate From Amethi, Raebareli Lok Sabha Seats

Congress supporters in Uttar Pradesh demonstrate in front of the party's Gauriganj headquarters in Amethi, demanding that either Priyanka Gandhi Vadra or Rahul Gandhi be nominated to represent the Amethi Lok Sabha seat.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Wednesday, May 01, 2024, 12:08 PM IST
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Congress workers were chanting slogans outside the Congress office in demand for candidate announcements. | Screen Grab

Amethi: Congress unit in Amethi has demanded that a Gandhi family member be fielded from Amethi Lok Sabha constituency. Congress is yet to take a call on its candidates from Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha seats. Speculations were rife that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may contest from the Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha seats respectively. However, latest reports suggest that both the Congress leaders are not keen on contesting elections from the seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul Gandhi contested the elections from Amethi in 2019 but lost the seat to BJP candidate and Union Minister Smriti Irani. Gandhi is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Waynad seat in Kerala.

Fed up with waiting for declaration of candidate, Congress workers in Amethi began protest at the party office on Tuesday. They raised slogans like "Amethi mange Gandhi parivar (Amethi demands the Gandhi family)". Amethi and Raebareli are the two prestigious seats for which the Congress has not yet announced a candidate.

Time Running Out To Nominate Candidates

The fifth phase of voting is scheduled for May 20, and as the last day for nominating candidates nears, the situation in Amethi has escalated. The last date for candidate nominations is May 3. "This is a Gandhian system to summon our leaders," one of the party workers told NDTV. "Enough time has been spent dilly-dallying. We are running out of patience. They should just hurry up and announce the names," he added.

The Congress party is still stinging from the 2019 BJP win, in which three-term Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi lost to Union minister Smriti Irani. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi's parents, Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, and uncle, Sanjay Gandhi, previously held the seat.

Kerala Candidacy

It was hoped that the party would select a candidate after the Kerala election, but in the past four days, not much has happened in regards to the constituency. "People of the constituency and Congress workers want a member of the Gandhi family as their candidate. We want Rahul Gandhi to contest from Amethi to bring back its lost honour," the party's district spokesperson, Anil Singh, said.

According to some reports, Rahul Gandhi might not be keen to run for office in Amethi. If he wins, it could mean giving up his Kerala seat, which propelled him to the Lok Sabha in 2019. When questioned about the situation, Amethi-based Congress workers who were in protest stated that, they had "complete confidence that the Gandhi family will run from Amethi."

Priyanka Gandhi Or Rahul Gandhi?

Nonetheless, the workers have been raising slogans calling for a contest between Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi in order to cover their bases, expected to step into her mother's shoes in Raebareli. It was expected that she would run in the elections starting in 2014, first against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi and then from Uttar Pradesh once she was appointed general secretary of the state.

Statement By Union Minister Smriti Irani

Meanwhile, Union Minister Smriti Irani filed her nomination from Amethi on April 29, voicing confidence in her candidacy for a second consecutive term. "I could not care less," when asked if she would rather have Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as her opponent. "Whoever comes will lose".

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