Will Robert Vadra test political waters in Amethi?

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By Tajdar H. Zaidi

Lucknow: Congressmen in UP are a surprised lot. Till now they had been waiting for the official announcement of the  names of Priyanka  and Rahul as two most prominent candidates from Raebareli and Amethi, the desire expressed by Priyanka’s husband Robert Vadra that he wishes to contest from Amethi has left Congressmen wondering who among these three would backout.Two prestigious Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh – Raebareli and Amethi – till now are awaiting high profile candidates from the Gandhi family to come and make the contest more challenging.  However, Congress party is yet to officially decide the candidates for these two seat. For Amethi and Raebareli, Congress, say sources, is adopting wait and watch tactics.
Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituencies will vote in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 20.
While Rahul Gandhi is already contesting Lok Sabha elections from Kerala’s Wayanad seat, he may file nominations from another seat, notably Amethi. Significantly, if he proceeds, it would be his third contest from this seat. Rahul will also face Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Smriti Irani for the third time.
                     
For Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, if she proceeds to file  nomination from Raebareli, it would be her first-ever Lok Sabha election. The entry of Priyank Gandhi in Lok Sabha elections from Raebareli will make contest more interesting  in Uttar Pradesh because she has skills to mobilise the Congress cadre.
It is pertinent to note that both Amethi and Rae Bareily have remained Congress strongholds until recently when Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in Lok Sabha elections 2019. Smriti Irani has challenged the Rahul Gandhi to come and fight agaist her from the Amethi again.
Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi by a margin of 55,120 votes in 2019. However, in 2014, the Congress leader claimed victory on this seat against Smriti Irani by a margin of 1,07,903 votes.
                     
However, Robert Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary, has once again expressed his desire in Haridwar to contest Lok Sabha elections from  Amethi, claiming widespread support from  people.Vadra said, “I have been active in Amethi since 1999 and played a role in the 2004 elections when Soniaji won the seat.
However, talking about the upcoming election in Raebareli, political analysts believe that it is also going to be an equally challenging contest for any Congress candidate in Raebareli.

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