Lok Sabha Election / Why is the Gandhi family taking the risk of distancing itself from Rae Bareli-Amethi seat?

Vikrant Shekhawat : Mar 19, 2024, 12:40 PM
Lok Sabha Election: Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad has been announced. On the other hand, despite the demands and persuasion of many Congressmen, Priyanka and Rahul's indifference towards Rae Bareli and Amethi, which are considered family seats, is being interpreted as refusal to contest. The reason for disillusionment with Amethi can be considered to be the defeat of 2019, but if Sonia Gandhi lagged behind from the won seat of Rae Bareli due to age and health, then why is the next generation hesitating in coming forward to take over the legacy?

Rae Bareli seat is important for Congress from the perspective of 2024 Lok Sabha elections not only because the Gandhi family has a generational relationship with it. Another big reason is that even in the Modi wave of 2019, this only seat among the eighty in Uttar Pradesh maintained the presence of Congress from the state in the Lok Sabha. Of course, the decisive reason for the victory can be considered the Gandhi family's hold on the area. But in a situation when the conditions in Uttar Pradesh do not seem very favorable for the Congress, why is the Gandhi family taking a big risk of distancing itself from Rae Bareli and Amethi seats, which have its traditional influence?

Why did Sonia stay away from Rae Bareli even after victory?

Sonia Gandhi has recently been elected to the Rajya Sabha. But since the 2019 victory in Rae Bareli, his presence has been negligible. There are questions regarding when she last came to Rae Bareli. The main reason is said to be his poor health. But has this been the only reason? Despite poor health, she has been participating in many party programs. So, in the meantime, was it not possible to spare any time for Rae Bareli, which has been continuously electing him to Parliament since 2004? The 2019 defeat is considered to be the reason for Rahul Gandhi's indifference from Amethi. But Sonia Gandhi had won this election. With this victory, had he decided not to contest the next Lok Sabha elections?

Votes kept decreasing election after election

However, this question no longer matters that what would have been the results if Sonia had contested the elections? But the results of the last four Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli definitely indicate that their vote percentage was continuously decreasing. In 2004, he got 80.49 percent votes, which dropped to 72.23 percent in 2009, 63.80 percent in 2014 and 55 percent in 2019. Despite winning the Lok Sabha seat in 2019, in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Congress lost all the 5 assembly constituencies of Rae Bareli. The party could not even enter the main contest on any of these seats. Its candidates stood third in four constituencies and fourth in one. Congress' vote share on all seats was 13.2% while SP's vote share was 37.6% and BJP's vote share was 29.8%. In this election, SP won four seats and BJP won one seat.

Rae Bareli is still under the spell of Gandhi family!

Could the declining votes in the Lok Sabha elections in Rae Bareli and the crushing defeat in the assembly elections be the reason for the Gandhi family's disillusionment with Rae Bareli? Senior journalist Gaurav Awasthi, who has been covering the politics and elections of Rae Bareli for a long time, says that there has been no announcement from the Congress party regarding the candidature of Rae Bareli, hence it is too early to say that any member of the family will not contest the elections. . According to Awasthi, “Rae Bareli is still under the spell of Gandhi family. His identity is linked to this family and this feeling is still strong among the people here. As far as the results against the 2022 assembly elections are concerned, Congress has lost in the assembly elections earlier also, but in the Lok Sabha elections, the voters have expressed confidence in the Gandhi family. Assembly and Lok Sabha elections are fought on different issues. Therefore, the result of one does not necessarily serve as an example for the other. ,

Priyanka-Rahul why in confusion?

Priyanka Gandhi first became active in 1999 in campaigning for her mother Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and her father Rajiv Gandhi's successor Captain Satish Sharma in Rae Bareli. In 2004, Sonia left Amethi seat for Rahul Gandhi and moved to Rae Bareli. Since then Priyanka kept looking after the election management of Rae Bareli. Earlier his role was limited to the family seats Amethi and Rae Bareli. He has been formally active in politics since 2019. Sonia Gandhi has retired from direct elections. The family's traditional Rae Bareli seat is vacant. Congress has an alliance with Samajwadi Party, which holds four out of five assembly seats in the region, then what could be the reason for confusion in Priyanka or Rahul entering the election battle of Rae Bareli?

BJP's preparation; SP rebels also with us

Of course, the Gandhi family has given great political identity to Rae Bareli. It cannot be denied that among the few areas of Uttar Pradesh where Congress has a strong presence, Rae Bareli and Amethi have a special place. But in both these areas, BJP has been busy strengthening its ground for a long time. He presented a tough challenge in Amethi in 2014 and converted it into victory in 2019. Even though BJP lost in Rae Bareli in 2019, it raised alarm bells by reducing Sonia's lead compared to 2014. Even after losing to Rahul in 2014, Smriti Irani was made a minister at the Centre. By giving place in the Yogi cabinet to Dinesh Pratap Singh, who unsuccessfully challenged Sonia in Rae Bareli in 2019, a message was given to the voters that BJP is alert about the development of the district.

The BJP, which is always in election mode, leaves no opportunity to tell through its Central and State governments that even after a long association, the Gandhi family has failed to fulfill its promises in Amethi-Rae Bareli. The dual activism of BJP on the government and organizational front has disturbed the opposition camp. Due to the long distance from the state and central power and the laxity shown by the Gandhi family in taking care of its local leaders and workers, the organization has weakened and the morale of the cadre has broken. On the occasion of recent Rajya Sabha elections, BJP made a dent in the SP camp by cross-voting with Unchahar (Rae Bareli) MLA Manoj Pandey, Gauriganj (Amethi) MLA Rakesh Pratap Singh and absenting Amethi MLA Maharaji Prajapati from the voting and alliance partner Congress. The concern has also increased. A major objective of this exercise of BJP was to send a message to the Gandhi family that not only the BJP but also the rebels of its ally SP are gearing up to block their path in Rae Bareli and Amethi.