Rahul Gandhi vs Smriti Irani in Amethi again? How the contest will be in 2024
Amethi was a long held bastion of the Gandhi family till Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was ousted in 2019 general election by BJP's Smriti Irani.
Newly appointed Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Rai on Friday claimed that Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, triggering discussions around the high-profile constituency that has long been a traditional seat for the Gandhi-Nehru family. Only twice has this Congress stronghold witnessed a defeat for the Gandhi-Nehru family, the first being just after the Emergency when Sanjay Gandhi lost to Janata Party candidate Ravindra Pratap Singh.
Rahul Gandhi made his parliamentary debut from the Amethi constituency in 2004 and won the next two Lok Sabha elections from the same seat before losing it to BJP's Smriti Irani in 2019. Sonia Gandhi, an MP from Rae Bareli, is the only Congress parliamentarian from UP at present and the grand old party would be eyeing to wrest Amethi from Smriti Irani.
Rahul Gandhi is at present MP from Wayanad in Kerala.
Surrounded by party workers and leaders, who gathered at the airport as he arrived from Delhi, Rai said, "Rahul Gandhi will definitely contest the Lok Sabha election from Amethi, the people of Amethi are here."
When asked about Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in the last election, Rai said she appears frustrated.
"Smriti Irani seems frustrated. She said she will get sugar at ₹13 per kg, did she manage it? People from Amethi are here, ask them," Rai said.
Smriti Irani vs Rahul Gandhi
According to HT's sister publication Live Hindustan, Smriti Irani's active engagement in Amethi has strengthened the BJP's presence in the region. While BJP legislators hold sway in Jagdishpur, Tiloi and Salon assembly constituencies, the Samajwadi Party holds its grip over Gauriganj and Amethi seats. Irani's supporters in Amethi Lok Sabha seat highlight the developmental work carried out by both the central and state governments.
Rahul Gandhi has visited Amethi three times since his defeat in the 2019 elections, and the possibility of him contesting again from the constituency has kept the local party leaders' hopes alive. Gandhi has maintained a visible presence in Amethi, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic when he provided relief materials to the region. His efforts have resonated positively with local party workers, as indicated by the recent statements from the state party chief.
The next year's Lok Sabha election could witness an intensified political battle in the Amethi constituency if Rahul Gandhi decides to contest from his former seat.