‘I will continue to work for you’: Rahul tells people of Amethi
Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP for Wayanad, visited Amethi for the first time after his defeat to Union Minister and BJP MP Smriti Irani.Updated: Jul 11, 2019 01:16 IST
On his first visit to Amethi after he lost the traditional Gandhi family bastion to Smriti Irani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday assured the people of the constituency that he will continue to speak for the ward in Parliament and work for its development.
“Though now I am MP from Wayanad, I will continue to work for the development of Amethi as well and always remain with the people here,” Gandhi , 49, told party workers at a closed-door meeting in a women’s college in Gauriganj here, according to people who attended the meeting.
Gandhi’s remarks were seen as an indication of the continuing family bond with Amethi, the constituency that elected him thrice and also sent other Gandhi family members to the Lok Sabha, including his father Rajiv Gandhi and uncle Sanjay Gandhi. Gandhi comfortably won election to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala after contesting both seats.
Local party workers, who were allowed to meet Gandhi in different groups, made an emotional appeal to him to ‘not leave’ Amethi and also continue as the party president.
“Without you, the Congress will stand divided, we told Rahul Gandhi, requesting him to continue to guide the party as its president,” said PS Tripathi, a local lawyer and All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member. “He assured us he would never leave Amethi even after the defeat but only smiled on our request for continuing as the Congress chief,” he added.
When some of party workers blamed factors like alleged use of money power and manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVMs) , Gandhi, according to the present at the meeting, held the local party unit and its overconfidence responsible for his defeat in Amethi.
“He was of the opinion that there is no point in blaming others and said local party organisation did not work as hard as was expected possibly because of overconfidence,” said Shiv Kumar Upadhyaya, a local Congress functionary.
Gandhi was earlier received by the UP Congress Committee (UPCC) leaders at the Lucknow airport, from where he drove to Gauriganj reaching the meeting venue. The visit was kept a low-key affair — there were no posters, banners and welcome gates on the way.
His visit, however, left many disappointed too. The party workers had been told that Gandhi would stay there longer, listen to all party workers and have lunch with them.
“He finished the meeting just in one hour and left the venue in a huff without realising the fact that a large number of workers who reached braving rains were not even allowed entry,” Naved Siddiqui, a party worker, said.
Some party workers felt they should have been allowed a detailed and frank discussion over the reasons behind Gandhi’s defeat. “The Congress is still contesting elections depending on one or two important party leaders in a district while the BJP is reaching out to the booth-level workers,” said a local leader, Mata Saran Singh.