Suspense ends,Rahul Gandhi files nomination in Rae Bareli - Hindustan Times
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Suspense ends,Rahul Gandhi files nomination in Rae Bareli

By, Amethi/rae Bareli
May 04, 2024 09:10 AM IST

Kishori Lal Sharma, an aide of the Gandhi family, has been fielded from Rahul Gandhi’s former Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party loyalist KL Sharma on Friday filed nomination papers for the Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats, ending the long suspense over the party’s nominees for the two constituencies, once considered the party’s bastions in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia Gandhi after filing his nomination in Rae Bareli on Friday. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with his mother Sonia Gandhi after filing his nomination in Rae Bareli on Friday. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

The Congress declared its candidates for the two seats on Friday morning and the papers were filed well before the closing of nominations for these seats. Both the seats go to polls in the fifth phase on May 20.

The Congress top brass, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, party president Mallikarjuna Kharge and Robert Vadra, were among those present when Rahul Gandhi submitted his nomination papers to district magistrate Harshita Mathur at the Rae Bareli collectorate.

A large crowd (of party workers) turned up at the Congress central offices at Rae Bareli and Amethi for the filing of nominations. Rahul Gandhi, who was scheduled to perform puja at the party’s central office before filing of nomination papers, could not do so due to a large crowd and the approaching deadline, a party leader said. He, however, returned to perform puja at the central party office after submitting his papers, this leader said. Another leader said Rahul began his campaign the after puja. After her arrival at the Fursatganj airport, Priyanka reached the Congress’s central office at Gauriganj, Amethi, and addressed the party workers there though she left for Rae Bareli before KL Sharma also submitted four sets of nomination papers to Amethi district magistrate Nisha Anand.

Addressing the party workers from the top of a vehicle that KL Sharma earlier got decked up for the possible nomination procession of one of the two Gandhis in Amethi, Priyanka said, “You all know KL Sharma for the past 40 years. He knows every street, village, Congress worker and problem of this constituency. He has served you for 40 years and I have seen him working. I will work with him to fight this election shoulder to shoulder. I hope you will fight the election in the same manner and ensure his victory. We want to bring back the politics of truth and service. I will come back and camp in Amethi from May 6 onwards and stay here till the end,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has apparently decided to shift to Rae Bareli to continue the family’s connection in the party’s only bastion in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi had lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election to Union minister Smriti Irani from Amethi, which was earlier considered the other bastion of the party in the state. With Priyanka Gandhi deciding to lead the campaign in Amethi, the party would make every attempt to wrest the seat from the BJP. The Samajwadi Party has been supporting the Congress in Rae Bareli and Amethi in the past, too. The Congress’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party may help the grand old party in the 2024 polls. Out of five assembly segments of Rae Bareli, the BJP now has its MLAs in two (Unchahar MLA Manoj Pandey joined the BJP recently) while the SP has representation on the remaining three seats. In the assembly segments of Amethi parliamentary constituency, the BJP has three MLAs while the Samajwadi Party has two. At least one of the two SP MLAs is considered close to the BJP. The SP workers turned out in large numbers at both places. There was also some presence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters.

“We see this with all the positivity. Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are star campaigners of the Congress. If the party had fielded both from Rae Bareli and Amethi, the party’s campaign would have been affected. Rahul Gandhi will not have to devote much time in Rae Bareli as this has been a traditional Congress seat. On the other hand, KL Sharma is a silent worker and has the experience of working with the party organisation. I think this has turned out to be a good strategy,” said RB Verma, former principal of Feroze Gandhi Degree College, Rae Bareli.

Earlier, as reports about the decision to field Rahul Gandhi from Rae Bareli and KL Sharma from Amethi began reaching the people at about 8am on Friday, the party workers began gathering at the party offices in the two constituencies and began raising slogans in favour of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. The party workers also shouted slogans in favour of KL Sharma at Amethi.

Some BJP workers raised “go back” slogans against Rahul Gandhi when he was about to enter the Rae Bareli collectorate to file his nomination papers. Rahul Gandhi’s convoy, however, did not stop there and he went ahead to file his nomination papers.

The BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh, an Uttar Pradesh minister, also filed his nomination on Friday. Deputy chief minister Brajesh Pathak accompanied him. The BJP’s Amethi candidate and sitting MP Smriti Irani had filed her nomination on Monday (April 29).

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