2019 Lok Sabha elections: Why retaining Amethi will be crucial for Rahul Gandhihttps://indianexpress.com/elections/2019-lok-sabha-elections-amethi-rahul-gandhi-smriti-irani-5639405/

2019 Lok Sabha elections: Why retaining Amethi will be crucial for Rahul Gandhi

Decision 2019: There is symbolism in Amethi. It is located in central Uttar Pradesh, a state that sends the largest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha (80). The state accounts for 16 per cent of India's population and holds key for formation of the government in the Centre.

amethi constituency lok sabha elections 2019 rahul gandhi and smriti irani
Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. (Express File Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

The Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh will be under the spotlight during the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, as a high-voltage electoral battle will be fought between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s Smriti Irani. Rahul had defeated Irani to retain the seat in 2014 by more than 1 lakh votes.

Amethi, which goes to polls on May 6 in the fifth phase of voting, is a Congress bastion. Rahul has held the seat the longest, since 2004. The seat has also been held by his mother and current UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, his father Rajiv Gandhi and his uncle Sanjay Gandhi.

There is symbolism in Amethi. It is located in central Uttar Pradesh, a state that sends the largest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha (80). The state accounts for 16 per cent of India’s population and holds key to the formation of the government at the Centre.

In a show of support to Rahul Gandhi, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, which are in alliance in the state, will not contest the seat.

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amethi constituency lok sabha elections 2019 rahul gandhi and smriti irani
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Yogi Adityanath in Amethi on March 3, 2019. This was the PM’s first visit since 2014. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

It is also vital for the Congress to retain its hold on Amethi, which is one of the only two seats it has won since 2004 — the other seat is Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli.

Before she made her entry into active politics in January this year, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s role had been limited to campaigning for Rahul and Sonia in Amethi and Rae Bareli respectively.

The BJP saw its fortunes turn in the state in 2017 after stealing a massive victory from the BSP and SP during the Assembly elections. In tribute to its pro-development campaign, it won 312 seats in the 403-member Assembly and came back to power after 14 years. The Amethi Assembly seat is currently held by BJP MLA Garima Singh.

Meanwhile, the Congress in Kerala has proposed AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s name for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat, a party bastion in the State, but he has yet to respond to the request, senior leaders said Saturday.

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