‘Rahul Gandhi will fight from Amethi in 2024 polls,’ says Congress’s new UP chief Ajay Rai

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Congress new chief Ajay Rai said Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi will contest the 2024 general election from Amethi — a seat he lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Smriti Irani in 2019.

“The fight that we fought against PM Modi in Banaras (Varanasi), we will fight that battle from Changoli to Ghaziabad (in UP),” Rai, a five-time MLA from Varanasi, told the media a day after his appointment. “Rahul Gandhi will definitely fight from Amethi.”

Asked if senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi will contest from Varanasi — Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency —  he said should she wish for it, “each and every worker will lay down their lives” to help her win.

Rai had fought — and lost — the 2014 and 2019 general elections against Modi in Varanasi. He stood third both times despite wielding significant clout. Rai was made the new chief of UP Congress Thursday. 

Until Rahul lost it in 2019, Amethi was considered a Gandhi bastion, with the Congress having lost the seat only twice before in 1977 and 1998. Apart from Rahul, who held the seat from 2004 to 2019, his father Rajiv, mother Sonia, and uncle Sanjay were elected from there.

Rai told the media that Irani, the current MP from Amethi, is “rattled”.  He also referred to her 2019 election promise of offering sugar at a low price of Rs 13 a kg. 

“She said she’ll give sugar at Rs. 13 per kg. Has she been able to provide sugar at Rs. 13 per kg? She needs to answer the people,” Rai said. 

Responding to the new Congress state chief’s comments, Union minister Kaushal Kishore, the BJP MP from Mohanlalganj in Uttar Pradesh, claimed people in both Wayanad and Amethi have “rejected Rahul Gandhi”.  Both Rahul and Priyanka can contest elections from “anywhere they want”, he said. 

“But he (Rahul) has lost the elections from there (Amethi). People have rejected him. Why doesn’t he want to go back to where he won the elections in Kerala? Because people have rejected him there too,” he told news agency PTI.  

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: Parties without ideology are endangered in the BJP-era. Even Congress needs a modernised doctrine



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