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HindustanTimes Wed,26 Nov 2014

Rahul files Amethi papers; stage set for high-profile battle in Cong fortress

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 12, 2014
First Published: 11:55 IST(12/4/2014) | Last Updated: 21:09 IST(12/4/2014)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections on Saturday, setting the stage for a high-profile, three-cornered contest in the family fortress Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi's mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi was by his side when he filed the nomination papers at the Amethi collectorate this afternoon.

Challenged by BJP's crowd-puller, actor Smriti Irani, and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas, the two-time MP Gandhi arguably faces the toughest electoral battle of his political career.

Amethi goes to the polls on May 7.

Prior to filing his nominations, Rahul Gandhi undertook a 42-km-long roadshow from Amhart in Sultanpur to Gauriganj in Amethi and was accompanied by sister Priyanka Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra.

Read: Rahul holds roadshow in Sultanpur ahead of filing nomination

Rahul's cousin Varun Gandhi is the BJP candidate from Sultanpur. He is pitted against Congress nominee Amita Singh, wife of Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who had won from the seat in 2009.

The event evoked curiosity as this is for the first time Rahul organised such a political campaign from a constituency where another Gandhi family member if fighting against a Congress candidate.

Amita along with husband also received Gandhi at the airport in Sultanpur and accompanied him in the roadshow.

Varun, son of Maneka and Sanjay Gandhi, had contested the last Lok Sabha seat from Pilbhit and won by over three lakh votes. After shifting to Sultanpur seat, he has been reaching out to people telling them that Sultanpur was the 'karmbhoomi' of his late father.

Full coverage: Rahul Gandhi, taking the lead

When asked about BJP rival Smriti Irani, Priyanka Gandhi said, "Everyone who comes to Amethi is welcome. There is an arrangement in democracy for everyone to contest the elections".

 When asked whether she expects Rahul to win by bigger margin, she replied "it will all be known later".

Amethi was earlier represented by country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and later by Sanjay Gandhi once and four times by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi also represented the seat but later shifted to Rae Bareily to vacate the seat for Rahul.

Incidentally, the Congress has lost three of the five assembly seats falling under Amethi parliamentary seats during the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2012.

Read: Rahul targets Narendra Modi over personal life, snoopgate

Full coverage: Lok Sabha elections 2014


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