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Chunav Flashback: When Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi challenged Rajiv Gandhi in Amethi

In the past, anti-Congress parties did experiments in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency by making poll battle Gandhi vs Gandhi. There were such poll contests in 1984 and 1989 when there was a direct fight between Gandhis.

Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: May 02, 2024 19:50 IST
Amethi Lok Sabha Election in 1989
Image Source : INDIA TV Chunav Flashback: Rajiv Gandhi and Rajmohan Gandhi contested against each other in Amethi in 1989.

Amethi has been one of the hot seats in the Lok Sabha elections since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent its firebrand actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani there to take on the Gandhi family scion and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in 2014. The fierce contest between Rahul Gandhi and Smriti Irani made Amethi a focal point in the election season. In the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, Rahul Gandhi secured victory but the margin was thin and in the next Lok Sabha elections, Smriti Irani surprised everyone by defeating then Congress president Rahul Gandhi. She was called a giant killer with an unexpected victory. However, this was not the first time when Amethi witnessed an interesting contest. In the past, the people of Amethi saw two very significant contests - Gandhi vs Gandhi in 1984 and 1989. 

In the Lok Sabha Elections 1984, Sanjay Gandhi's wife Maneka Gandhi contested against her brother-in-law Rajiv Gandhi. However, she lost to Rajiv Gandhi with a huge margin of over 3 lakh votes.

Another Gandhi vs Gandhi poll battle was between the grandsons of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in 1989. In the Lok Sabha Elections 1989, the people of Amethi were in a dilemma as they had to elect one representative between 'Asli Gandhi' (real Gandhi) and 'Apna Gandhi' (our own Gandhi). However, the battle was not equal as on one side there was then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with mammoth logistic support and on the other side a gentleman Gandhian. Janata Dal candidate Rajmohan Gandhi had the backing of his party, and supporters of Sanjay Singh, the Amethi Assembly candidate, yet they were not enough to overcome the popularity of ruling party leader Rajiv Gandhi. Rajmohan Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. He was born to Devdas Gandhi and Lakshmi Gandhi in 1935. 

In the Lok Sabha Elections 1989, Rajiv Gandhi defeated Rajmohan Gandhi by getting 2,71,407 votes (67.43 per cent votes). On the other hand, Rajmohan Gandhi secured just 69,269 votes (17.21 per cent votes). Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Kanshi Ram was also in the fray and stood third with 25,400 votes (6.31 per cent votes).

However, the Amethi election was in the news for the wrong reason as well. The Lok Sabha constituency witnessed some incidents of poll violence propelling the Election Commission to declare 18 per cent of votes invalid and to order re-polling in 97 booths.

Also read- Chunav Flashback: When BJP's Ashok Singh won Congress bastion Rae Bareli twice in 1996 and 1998


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