Congress Fields Kishori Lal Sharma in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi Shifts to Raebareli

Congress party announces candidates for 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with Rahul Gandhi contesting from Raebareli and Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi. This marks a significant shift, as no Gandhi family member will contest from Amethi for the first time in over two decades.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Congress Fields Kishori Lal Sharma in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi Shifts to Raebareli

Congress Fields Kishori Lal Sharma in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi Shifts to Raebareli

In a significant shift, the Congress party has announced its candidates for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with a notable change in the Amethi constituency. For the first time in over two decades, no member of the Gandhi family will contest from Amethi, a traditional stronghold of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Instead, the party has nominated Kishori Lal Sharma, a long-time loyalist of the Gandhi family, to represent Amethi in the upcoming polls.

Why this matters: The Congress party's decision to field a non-Gandhi candidate in Amethi has significant implications for the party's strategy in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress party's decision to field a non-Gandhi candidate in Amethi has significant implications for the party's strategy in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This move could potentially impact the party's chances of winning in Uttar Pradesh, a vital state in the formation of the central government.

Rahul Gandhi, who suffered a defeat in Amethi against BJP's Smriti Irani in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will now contest from the Raebareli constituency. Raebareli has been another bastion of the Congress party, with Sonia Gandhi holding the seat since 2004. However, Sonia Gandhi has recently opted out of the Lok Sabha race and is now a member of the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

The decision to field Rahul Gandhi from Raebareli reportedly came as an afterthought, following pressure from ally Samajwadi Party. Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, offered 16 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, contingent upon one of the Gandhi siblings contesting from the state. The Congress party conducted multiple surveys in Amethi and Raebareli, which predicted a victory in Raebareli if a Nehru-Gandhi family member was fielded. However, the feedback from Amethi assured only a 50% chance of success.

Kishori Lal Sharma, the chosen candidate for Amethi, hails from Ludhiana and has been associated with the Gandhi family since 1983. Despite being held responsible for Rahul Gandhi's defeat in Amethi in 2019, Sharma was shielded by Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi. He has been assured three public meetings in Amethi, where Priyanka, Rahul, and Sonia Gandhi will campaign on his behalf.

Local Congress workers in Amethi express doubts about Sharma's ability to fill the void left by Rahul Gandhi, emphasizing the emotional connection between the people and the Gandhi family. They fear that Sharma's rival, Smriti Irani, may have an easier path to victory without a Gandhi family member in the fray. Reacting to Sharma's candidature, Smriti Irani remarked, "The guests are welcome...we will provide good hospitality to the guests but it is an indication that the family (Gandhis) has already accepted defeat."

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary, has expressed confidence in Sharma's ability to secure the Amethi seat. She asserted that Sharma is well-versed with every corner of Amethi and understands the challenges facing the constituency. Priyanka Gandhi plans to camp in Amethi for the next few days to campaign for Sharma.

The Congress party's decision not to field Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the elections has raised eyebrows. Sources suggest that Priyanka wants Rahul Gandhi to be "first among equals" and at the forefront of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. If Rahul wins both Wayanad and Raebareli seats, Priyanka may step in through a by-election from the latter.

As part of a seat-sharing arrangement with the Samajwadi Party, the Congress party is contesting 17 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The deadline for filing nominations for the Amethi and Raebareli seats is Friday, May 3, with voting scheduled for the fifth phase on May 20. The outcome of these elections will have far-reaching implications for the Congress party and the political scenario of Uttar Pradesh, a state that plays a crucial role in shaping the formation of the central government.

Key Takeaways

  • Congress party announces candidates for 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with no Gandhi family member contesting from Amethi.
  • Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli, a traditional Congress stronghold.
  • Kishori Lal Sharma, a Gandhi family loyalist, to contest from Amethi.
  • Congress party's decision seen as a significant shift in strategy for the 2024 elections.
  • Outcome of Amethi and Raebareli elections to have far-reaching implications for Congress party and Uttar Pradesh politics.