Kishori Lal Sharma, Amethi's old faithful: "People say they made a mistake in 2019"

Having served both Amethi and Rae Bareli for 40-plus years — under Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in turn — the Congress veteran is quietly confident of an INDIA win

Kishori Lal Sharma (centre) contests from Amethi, supported by both Rahul Gandhi (his left) and Akhilesh Yadav (his right) (photo courtesy @KLSharmaAmethi/X)
Kishori Lal Sharma (centre) contests from Amethi, supported by both Rahul Gandhi (his left) and Akhilesh Yadav (his right) (photo courtesy @KLSharmaAmethi/X)

Ashlin Mathew

Amethi candidate Kishori Lal Sharma has been in Rae Bareli for more than four decades, and associated with the Amethi seat since 1983, when he began working with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on a youth programme.

Sharma, who is from Punjab’s Ludhiana, used to work in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency on behalf of Rajiv Gandhi, who won this seat four times in 1981, 1984, 1989 and again posthumously in 1991. Sharma then went on to work with former Congress president Sonia Gandhi to ensure her record victory in 1999. When she passed it on to Rahul Gandhi and shifted to Rae Bareli herself in 2004, Sharma began managing both the seats. He was also in-charge of Bihar, along with C.P. Joshi, in 2013. 

Sharma believes that it is this personal connection on the ground that will help him win the Amethi seat. “I have worked here for 40 years. Won’t I have a deep connection with the people here? People here consider me as their family. I’m one of them,” says Sharma, speaking to National Herald

For the 63-year-old Sharma, campaigning and electioneering is nothing new. “There’s not much change. This time it’s for me [rather than another leader]. Then or now, I have not been alone. We have several people campaigning for us. The Gandhis too held a public meeting in Amethi, along with the Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav,” says Sharma.

The team that manages his campaign also includes other veterans of many elections. “It’s not new and I’m not new,” he says of the campaign. “I have been well-received by people here. Earlier they knew me as Sonia Gandhi’s public representative. Then too I was here and even now I am going to work for the people here.”

His candidature was announced on the last day of nomination (3 May), leaving him only 15 days to campaign. “I have been trying to meet as many people [as I can],” he says. Polling in Amethi is scheduled for 20 May, the fifth phase of the elections, so campaigning closes on 18 May.

However, Sharma reiterates that the election this time is quite different from the general elections of 2019. There were certain issues earlier, which he underscores have been taken care of this time — for instance, infighting within the group saw certain dissenters removed when attempts at reaching an amicable understanding failed. But the upshot is that a more cohesive unit, aligned to the same goals, is left. This time, therefore, the Congress will win both the seats, Amethi and Rae Bareli, Sharma is confident.

“This has long been a Congress bastion. Additionally, people have also realised that the BJP can’t do much for them. What has the current MP done for the people? Ask the people here. They themselves will speak here and they themselves will say that they made a mistake in 2019,” says Sharma, with quiet finality.  

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines