NEW DELHI: Five years after her entry into active politics, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may make her Lok Sabha debut from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, which has been represented for decades by her mother and Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said sources.
This comes amid strong speculations that Sonia Gandhi is considering the Rajya Sabha route to Parliament from Rajasthan. As the grand old party is bracing for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections on February 27, senior leaders are of the view that Rajasthan will be a safe seat for the 77-year-old, where the Congress is on a strong footing. According to senior Congress leaders, though Priyanka chose to opt out of the poll fray in 2019, the party wants her to contest this time as it is looking to ramp up its tally in the 2024 elections.
“Though there are demands from Telangana and Karnataka leaders that Priyanka should contest from those states, we feel that she should take on the BJP in the Hindi heartland. The BJP is spreading a perception that the Congress is limited only to Southern states,” said the leader.
Considering the party’s dismal state in Uttar Pradesh, there is also a strong view that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi should contest from Amethi, apart from Wayanad, the sitting seat of Gandhi. “Uttar Pradesh is a very important state and the party has been in decline for many years. If Priyanka and Rahul are fielded from Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively, it will send a strong message to the BJP that we are very much in the game. The situation in Amethi is different from that of 2019. There is anger against the sitting MP and union minister Smriti Irani for her apathy towards the constituency. We are confident that Rahul Gandhi will win if he contests this time,” said a senior leader.
INDIA bloc ally SP is willing to give both Amethi and Raibareli seats to Congress. With the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) switched over to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Akhilesh Yadav-led party may give 16- 17 seats to Congress in Uttar Pradesh, said sources.
Though Amethi Lok Sabha constituency was a Gandhi family pocket-borough, in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Rahul lost the seat to Smriti Irani by around 55,000 votes. However, he won from his second constituency Wayanad in Kerala. Since 2004 Gandhi had been contesting polls from Amethi.
Earlier, Congress UP chief Ajay Rai said that the people of Amethi want to correct their ‘mistake’ of 2019 and Congress workers as well as leaders are demanding that Rahul Gandhi contest from the constituency in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.