30 Apr 2024

UP Lok Sabha Election 2024: Uncertainty Mounts in Rae Bareli-Amethi as Nomination Deadline Looms; Why Cong Is Unable to Decide?

UP Lok Sabha Election 2024: With the fifth phase of voting scheduled for May 20 in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the window for filing nomination papers is rapidly closing, leaving just four days.

The Congress party's strategy of maintaining suspense around potential candidates for the Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats has transformed into a political enigma that pundits and leaders alike are scrambling to decipher. As the suspense persists, anticipation grows for what surprises may unfold when the veil is finally lifted.

Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge hinted at the unfolding drama in a recent interview with a news channel, suggesting, "You will get some sort of surprise in Rae Bareli and Amethi." 

The speculation revolves around whether Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will enter the electoral fray in 2024 from either Rae Bareli or Amethi, historically strongholds for the Congress until the upset in 2019 when Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Union Minister Smriti Irani.

Sonia Gandhi, who was the only Congress MP to win the Lok Sabha poll from U.P. in 2019, has now taken Rajya Sabha route from Rajasthan.

In her letter to the people of Rae Bareli dated February 14, 2024, Sonia Gandhi observed, “I will not contest the next Lok Sabha election for my advancing age and health reasons... I am sure you will take care of me and my family in difficult times as you have been doing up to now.”

Sonia’s appeal, urging the people to take care of her family has been interpreted as an indication that a member of Gandhi family will contest the poll.

Pankaj Tiwari, President of the Rae Bareli District Congress Committee, affirmed this sentiment, stating, "Sonia Gandhi's letter indicates that a member of the Gandhi family will contest. Whether it's Priyanka or Rahul Gandhi, we are certain one of them will contest."

Deepak Singh, a senior Congress leader from Amethi, echoed this belief, expressing confidence that either Rahul or Priyanka Gandhi will contest from Amethi.

While various speculations circulate within the party, with permutations and combinations at play, clarity is expected to emerge soon. The BJP, represented by Smriti Irani in Amethi once again, closely monitors Congress's moves before finalizing its candidate.

Adding intrigue, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav suggested Rahul Gandhi's potential candidacy in Uttar Pradesh, hinting at a broader electoral strategy.

Rahul Gandhi, speaking at a joint press conference with the Samajwadi Party, indicated that the Congress Central Election Committee would decide the candidates for Rae Bareli and Amethi, emphasizing his adherence to the party's decisions.

As the uncertainty lingers, U.P. Congress leaders speculate anonymously on various possibilities, including Priyanka Gandhi's candidacy in either Rae Bareli or Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's similar potential, or even the prospect of both leaders opting out of the electoral contest in Uttar Pradesh.

The reluctance to finalize candidates underscores the significance of Rae Bareli and Amethi as bastions for the Congress, amplifying the stakes and suspense surrounding the impending decisions.

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