Rahul Gandhi renews Nehru-Gandhi family’s over six-decade bond with Rae Bareli - Hindustan Times
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Rahul Gandhi renews Nehru-Gandhi family’s over six-decade bond with Rae Bareli

By, Rae Bareli/amethi
May 04, 2024 06:00 AM IST

Amethi, however, saw a non-Gandhi family member Kishori Lal Sharma file his nomination papers as a Congress candidate after 26 years

When Congress leader Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat on Friday, he was the third-generation member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to do so in nearly 67 years in the constituency, considered a party bastion.

Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters in Rae Bareli. (PTI PHOTO)
Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters in Rae Bareli. (PTI PHOTO)

Rahul Gandhi’s grandfather, the late Feroze Gandhi, had won the election from Rae Bareli in 1957.

Amethi, however, saw a non-Gandhi family member Kishori Lal Sharma file his nomination papers as a Congress candidate after 26 years. Captain Satish Sharma was the last non-Gandhi family member (a family friend) to contest the poll from Amethi in 1998.

Both Rae Bareli and Amethi have consistently contributed to taking forward the political legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family amid the twists and turns that politics in the state and the country has witnessed over the years.

Former Prime Minister the late Indira Gandhi won the Rae Bareli seat for the first time in 1967 with 55.19% votes. Rae Bareli was a reserved seat in 1962.

Indira Gandhi, who went for dissolution of Lok Sabha prematurely amid infighting in the Congress, won the poll again in 1971. Raj Narain, who lost the poll in 1971, alleged election fraud that led to the Allahabad high court declaring her election null and void and Indira Gandhi deciding to impose Emergency. Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980, winning the Rae Bareli seat again.

Sonia Gandhi was the next to inherit Indira Gandhi’s legacy and she continued to represent the seat from 2004 onwards when she won the Rae Bareli seat after shifting from Amethi, paving the way for Rahul Gandhi’s entry into electoral politics there. Many old timers, who have seen Indira Gandhi working in the onstituency, now quote their past experiences.

“Yes, I have many fond memories of meeting Indira Gandhi with one being of how she served tea for us at Unchahar during one of her visits to the constituency,” said Ram Sevak Chaudhary.

Rahul Gandhi’s uncle, the late Sanjay Gandhi, lost the poll from Amethi in 1977 but won the seat in 1980. Later, Rajiv Gandhi won the seat in the 1984, 1989 and 1991 general elections.

Captain Satish Sharma won the Amethi seat in 1996 though he lost to BJP’s Sanjay Singh in 1998. Sonia Gandhi won Amethi seat in her first parliamentary election in 1999 and her son Rahul Gandhi won the seat in 2004, 2009 and 2014 polls. He, however, lost the 2019 poll to Union minister Smriti Irani in Amethi but won the Wayanad seat in Kerala.

“Family members are supposed to strengthen the political legacy, but the Gandhis have erred in doing so. They have not been able to maintain the relationship with the people at the desired levels. Although they (Gandhis) are making efforts to revive the legacy, it appears a cumbersome task for them,” said Professor SK Dwivedi, former head of department, political science, Lucknow University.

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