Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Rahul retains Rae Bareli; Priyanka to contest from Wayanad


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New Delhi, June 17: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will retain the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh and vacate his Wayanad seat in Kerala from where his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will make her electoral debut.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge announced the decision on Monday after the party’s top brass held discussions on the issue at his residence here. Besides, Kharge and Rahul, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretaries K C Venugopal and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were present at the meeting.
If elected, this will be the first time Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will enter Parliament as an MP. This will also be the first time that all three Gandhi family members – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka – will be in Parliament together.
The BJP has, however, attacked the Congress for the decision saying it is a clear case of dynastic politics being practised. Ruling party spokesperson Shezad Poonawala said, “It proves that the Congress is not a party but a family company”.
Rahul Gandhi has to vacate one of the seats within 14 days of the Lok Sabha results, which came out on June 4.
“Rahul Gandhi won from two Lok Saba seats but as per the law, he has to vacate one seat. Rahul Gandhi will retain Rae Bareli and we have decided that Priyanka ji will fight from Wayanad,” Kharge told reporters after the meeting.
“We thank her for keeping our word and having agreed to contest from Wayanad,” he said while lauding Priyanka Gandhi’s efforts in helping the party win a number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, including in Rae Bareli. Priyanka was the party’s star campaigner during Lok Sabha polls and had not contested herself.
Asked whether Rahul has decided to take the Leader of Opposition position in Lok Sabha, after the Congress Working Committee urged him to do so in a unanimous resolution, Kharge said that a decision will be taken soon.
“But, ‘dhamki to dee hai as president of the party’ (he has given a threat as party president),” Rahul Gandhi said when asked if he has agreed to the CWC decision to take up the LoP position.
Rahul Gandhi, while thanking the people of Wayanad for electing him again, said he will keep visiting the constituency and fulfil all the promises he has made to the people there.
He said both Rae Bareli and Wayanad “will get two MPs”, while noting that they have personal ties with the people of Rae Bareli and Wayanad.
“Dono ko do sansad mil rahe hain (both will get two MPs each),” he said.
While Sonia Gandhi has now become a member of the Rajya Sabha, representing Rajasthan state, Rahul Gandhi will represent Rae Bareli and Priyanka Gandhi, if elected in the bye-elections, will represent Wayanad constituency.
Sonia Gandhi held the Rae Bareli constituency for the last over two decades and Rahul Gandhi had earlier held the Amethi constituency, which he lost to Smriti Irani in 2019 and shifted to Wayanad.
Rahul Gandhi said it was a difficult decision for him as she has an emotional relationship with both Rae Bareli and Wayanad.
“The last five years as an MP of Wayanad have been a fantastic and enjoyable experience. The people of Wayanad gave me support and gave me energy to fight at a very difficult time. I will never forget that…,” he said.
“All the people of Wayanad gave me a lot of love and I thank them from my heart. I will visit Wayanad and will fulfil our promises made,” he said, adding that it was a difficult decision for him to make.
“I have an old relation with Rae Bareli and I am very happy that I will be representing it. This was not an easy decision, because affection is with both (Wayanad and Rae Bareli),” he said.
Priyanka Gandhi said she will not let the people of Wayanad feel Rahul’s absence.
“I am very happy to be able to represent Wayanad. All I’ll say is that I won’t let them feel his absence. As he said he will come many times with me. But I will work as hard and I will try my best to make everybody happy and be a good representative.
“I have a good relation with Rae Bareli as I have worked there for 20 years and that relation will never break,” Priyanka Gandhi said in her brief remarks.
Asked if she was nervous as she would be making her electoral debut in Wayanad, she said, “Not at all, I’m not nervous at all.” Rahul secured a massive 64.7 per cent vote share in Wayanad, defeating his nearest rival Annie Raja of CPI by a margin of 3.64 lakh votes. The BJP candidate K Surendran finished third with 1.3 lakh votes.
“I want everyone to know that Priyanka is going to fight from Wayanad and the commitments that I have made, we will stand by them.
“She is going to be a very good representative for the people of Wayanad. You are now going to have two members of Parliament and I love the people and I will keep visiting,” he told the people on announcing his decision to quit the seat. (PTI)


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