CONGRESS WORKERS and leaders in Amethi marked the day as “second Diwali”, bursting crackers and distributing sweets, as the local MP, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, on Monday filed nomination papers for the election for the party’s national president.
With Rahul set to be elected unopposed, party workers in Amethi pointed out that he will be the third Congress chief representing the constituency in Lok Sabha after Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Shouting slogans such as “Amethi ka Toofan, Badlega Hindustan”, they said that despite BJP barbs about “Congress-mukt Bharat”, the party has a good chance of reviving under Rahul.
“Sonia took over as the party’s national president when the Congress had governments in only four states, which went up to 16,” one local leader said. “Today, the Congress has government in six states, (so) we stand at a better place…it would be converted to 20 states.”
Amethi Congress leaders also said that Rahul is scheduled to visit the constituency in the last week of December, and they plan to make it a big event. “We are happy not just since we are going to give the party its next national president, but soon we are going to give the country its next Prime Minister,” claimed Deepak Singh, Congress MLC who was in Amethi to be part of the celebrations. “Years ago, a similar slogan (“Amethi ka Toofan, Badlega Hindustan”) was raised for Rajiv Gandhi. He went on to become the Prime Minister.”
Rajiv Gandhi was the Lok Sabha MP from Amethi from 1981 to 1991, Sonia Gandhi won from the seat twice —- in 1999 to 2004 —- and Rahul has represented the constituency since 2004. Congress district president Yogendra Mishra, who was in Delhi to be part of the nomination filing process along with Pradesh Congress Committee members from Amethi, said, “We are proud that Amethi is giving another national president to the party after Rajiv-ji and Sonia-ji.” Mishra said that the BJP is trying to restrict Rahul to Amethi, but as Rahul takes over the new role, responsibility of leaders and workers in Amethi has also increased.
Deepak Singh maintained that more “energetic people” would be given place within the party under Rahul. Stating that they were today discussing how Sonia was targeted when she first contested the elections from Amethi, Singh said, “It all vanished once the Congress revived under her guidance. A similar revival will take place now.”