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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

In Rae Bareli to file nomination, Sonia Gandhi sticks to 52-yr-old tradition

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi performed havan in 1967 before filing her nomination from Rae Bareli.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 11, 2019 19:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi performing puja before filing her nomination papers in Rae Bareli on Thursday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi was present during the havan ceremony.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi performing puja before filing her nomination papers in Rae Bareli on Thursday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi was present during the havan ceremony.(HT photo/Subhankar Chakraborty)

Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson, on Thursday filed her nomination papers for Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat following a road show in the constituency. Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election from Rae Bareli for the fifth time in a row.

Sonia Gandhi, 72, offered puja, following a 50-year-old tradition of the family before filing her papers for the Lok Sabha polls. She performed a havan at the residence of late Congress leader Gaya Prasad Shukla.

Shukla was a close associate of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and used to be her election representative in Rae Bareli when she contested Lok Sabha polls from this constituency.

Also Read | ‘Don’t forget 2004’: Sonia Gandhi’s message to BJP from Rae Bareli

The tradition of performing a havan before filing nomination by a member of Gandhi family is over 50 years old in Rae Bareli. It began with Indira Gandhi in 1967, when she was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time.

WATCH: ‘Don’t forget 2004’: Sonia’s message for PM Modi as LS polls kick off

Indira Gandhi contested from this seat two more times in 1971 and 1977, when she lost to Janata Party candidate Raj Narain. Indira Gandhi performed a havan before filing her nomination papers in Rae Bareli.

Sonia Gandhi has continued this tradition at Rae Bareli. Family priest Radhyshyam Dixit has been performing puja for her victory in Rae Bareli. Sonia Gandhi contested her first Lok Sabha election from Rae Bareli in 1999 and has represented this seat in Parliament four times since.

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At her havan ceremony on Thursday, she was accompanied by son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and son-in-law Robert Vadra. They were present in her road show and also at the collectorate where Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination papers.

After filing her papers, Sonia Gandhi made a brief statement to the waiting mediapersons attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To a question if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is invincible, she said, “Not at all, not at all. Don’t forget 2004. Vajpayeeji was invincible but we won.”

She was referring to 2004 Lok Sabha polls when the BJP ran an impressive “Shining India” campaign for the parliamentary polls. But the Vajpayee-led NDA was defeated in the polls and a Congress-led government came to power.

Rahul Gandhi elaborated the statement further saying, “There have been many many people in the Indian history who had the arrogance to believe that they are invincible and bigger than the people of India. Narendra Modi has done nothing for the people of India in the last five years. His invincibility will be in view after the election results.”

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In Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi is in direct contest with BJP candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh, who recently switched sides from the Congress to the ruling party. The grand-alliance of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal has not fielded its candidate from Rae Bareli to avoid division of votes in the Opposition camp.

Rae Bareli goes to the polls on May 6 in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls. Uttar Pradesh, however, votes in all seven phases that end on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 16:13 IST

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