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  4. OPINION | ROBERT VADRA EYES AMETHI, NO EASY WALKOVER FOR RAHUL GANDHI IN WAYANAD

OPINION | ROBERT VADRA EYES AMETHI, NO EASY WALKOVER FOR RAHUL GANDHI IN WAYANAD

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra has expressed his desire to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh. But the problem is that Vadra does not have a big say in the Gandhi family to the extent that he would be given a ticket if he desires so.

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: April 04, 2024 17:35 IST
Robert Vadra desires to contest from Amethi, Lok Sabha Elections 2024
Image Source : INDIA TV Aaj Ki Baat with Rajat Sharma.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra has expressed his desire to contest Lok Sabha elections, preferably from Amethi, to give a fight to Union Minister Smriti Irani. In an exclusive interview to India TV correspondent Dinesh Mourya on Wednesday, Robert Vadra said: “It is not my desire, but it is the desire of many people that I should join active politics. Since I belong to the Gandhi family, I find it difficult to stay away from active politics. Demands have come from many places, firstly from my home town Moradabad, where people want me to represent them, but I have done much social work in Amethi, Jagdishpur, Rae Bareli and Sultanpur since 1999, and I also get requests from Telangana to represent them, when I visit the South. People have already started putting up posters. At political conclaves and events, I am often told  that I have already delayed my entry into politics.”

To a pointed question on whether he is ready to give a tough fight to Smriti Irani in Amethi, Vadra replied: “ I am ready to give a fight to anybody. I am a member of the Gandhi family. With great power, comes great responsibility. I have learnt a lot from the family during the last 25-30 years. Whenever allegations were levelled against me, I replied to them in my own manner. I know the nitty-gritty of campaigning. Whether it is the BJP or any other close rival, I will put in my best to defeat them.”

On a question whether Priyanka Gandhi is ready to contest from Rae Bareli, Vadra replied: “She is ready to contest from anywhere, but the Congress party will have to decide.” He, however, said he would like Priyanka to enter Parliament first. Vadra has said that he has communicated his desire to his mother-in-law Sonia Gandhi and brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi, and the family will take a call soon about Amethi and Rae Bareli. Rahul Gandhi is yet to decide whether he would like to contest from Amethi, from where he was defeated in 2019 by Smriti Irani by a margin of 55,120 votes.

This is not the first time Robert Vadra has expressed his desire to contest elections. He had communicated his desire to the family several times, and also in public. This time, he appears to be serious. Vadra knows that Rahul may not contest from Amethi this time because his ego will not allow him to try his luck again after his 2019 defeat. Rae Bareli's seat is lying vacant because Sonia Gandhi will not contest due to health reasons. Probably, Vadra felt that with two family seats going vacant, and given his desire to join politics, if Priyanka opts to contest from Rae Bareli, he should be allowed to try his luck from Amethi. This is the reason why he made his intentions public. But the problem is, that Robert Vadra does not have a big say in the Gandhi family to the extent that he would be given a ticket if he desires so. This is a matter in which, being the son-in-law alone will not help. Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul will have to collectively decide.

 
RAHUL GANDHI IN WAYANAD
 
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi was busy filing his nomination in Wayanad, Kerala, after taking out a massive road show with his sister Priyanka.  The green Indian Union Muslim League flags, resembling Pakistani’s national flag,  were missing this time, unlike in 2019, when BJP made an issue out of it. This time tricolour flags and caps were visible. Left Democratic Front candidate and CPI leader Annie Raja also filed her nomination on Wednesday, while on Thursday, Kerala state BJP chief K Rajendran, accompanied by Union Minister Smriti Irani filed his nomination.

This time, the contest in Wayanad is going to be a triangular one. In his speech, Rahul Gandhi, without directly mentioning LDF, said there are many local problems in Wayanad which have not been resolved because the LDF government in the state did not listen to his advice. CPI rival Annie Raja also took out a rally and alleged that Rahul Gandhi was an “outsider”. She said, rumours were circulated last time that Rahul was going to become Prime Minister since the Congress would win the elections, but the people of Wayanad have now realized that they have been cheated.  Annie Raja is the wife of CPI general secretary D Raja and she is going to give Rahul a tough fight this time.

In 2019, Rahul had defeated his CPI rival by a huge margin of over four lakh votes. On Thursday, Union Minister Smriti Irani, while addressing a rally in Wayanad in support of the BJP candidate, alleged that Rahul had cheated the people of Amethi and was now doing the same to the people of Wayanad. “In Amethi, four lakh families got toilets for the first time after Modi became PM, despite the fact that Congress had been winning Amethi seat for 50 years”, Irani said.  In the 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi got 65 per cent votes in Wayanad. He polled 7,06,367 votes out of a total of 10,92,197 votes. The CPI candidate P P Suneer polled 2,74,597 votes. Congress leaders claim that Rahul would win easily this time again, but one should listen to what Annie Raja is saying, which is interesting. She is asking why Rahul Gandhi did not mention the name Wayanad even once during the last five years in Parliament. She is saying, Rahul cannot speak to the voters of Wayanad without an interpreter because he does not know Malayalam.

Things have changed a lot in Kerala since 2019. BJP made a big issue of RSS workers being brutally killed. RSS-BJP network is now active in each district of Kerala. Prime Minister Modi is going to address election meetings in Kerala, where polling is due on April 26. This time, Rahul is not going to have an easy walkover. However, Congress can count on the support of Muslims, who constitute more than 50 per cent in Wayanad. SDPI, the political wing of the banned PFI, has extended support to Rahul Gandhi. BJP is making an issue of it and Smriti Irani has already started saying this in her meetings.

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