Will win Amethi, Rae Bareli by big margin: Bhupesh Baghel

Former Chhattisgarh CM says Congress' deep-rooted ties with the region and the leadership's commitment will ensure victory

Bhupesh Baghel was appointed as senior observer to Rae Bareli on 6 May (photo: National Herald archives)
Bhupesh Baghel was appointed as senior observer to Rae Bareli on 6 May (photo: National Herald archives)


The BJP's Smriti Irani has carved her identity by opposing Rahul Gandhi, but cannot do so in Amethi this time and will face defeat, Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel has said, exuding confidence that his party will win both the Amethi and Rae Bareli seats in Uttar Pradesh by a "big margin" in the Lok Sabha polls.

Gandhi has this time been fielded by the Congress from Rae Bareli and is contesting against the BJP's Dinesh Pratap Singh, while Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma is taking on Irani in Amethi.

Both the seats have had close ties with the Gandhi family since Indira Gandhi contested, and then Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have all fought the polls from either of these two constituencies, Baghel said.

"They have familial ties with every household here. The decision (of fielding Rahul Gandhi from Rae Bareli) was of the high command and our leaders have already spoken about it. We are fighting both the seats. Kishori Lal Sharma ji has been serving people for over 40 years. He also has had ties with every household," Baghel told PTI in an interview in Rae Bareli.

The former Chhattisgarh chief minister pointed out that Sharma has been here as an MP representative. "The other side is scared, especially Smriti Irani because her identity has been carved only through opposing Rahul Gandhi. Now who will she oppose? She has been caught in a trap now and will face defeat," Baghel said.

Baghel is in Rae Bareli as a senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer for the Rae Bareli seat and will be holding a series of public outreach programmes as well.

"Kishori Lal Sharma will defeat her by a big margin of votes. We will win both the seats by a big margin," he said.

Baghel also hit back at the BJP for taking jibes at Sharma and calling him "Gandhi family's peon" and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's "clerk", saying it shows the party's "feudal mindset".

"As far as fighting elections is concerned, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji himself came to Varanasi but hails from Gujarat. Many people fight from different places. Atal Bihari Vajpayee fought from Lucknow but is from Gwalior," Baghel said, rebutting the BJP's charge that Sharma is an outsider as he hails from Ludhiana.

On Irani's attack that Rahul Gandhi had run away from Amethi, Baghel said it is not appropriate to make such comments about the Gandhi family. "They fear no one, and members of this family have sacrificed their lives for this country. Saying such things about such a family, you are doing politics but one should not lower the discourse to this level," Baghel said.

In 2019, Rahul Gandhi successfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad in Kerala, and lost in Amethi. The Congress earlier this week appointed former chief ministers Baghel and Ashok Gehlot as AICC senior observers for the Rae Bareli and Amethi parliamentary constituencies, respectively.

Priyanka Gandhi has taken command of the campaign in the two constituencies. She will be holding hundreds of 'nukkad sabhas', meetings and door-to-door campaign programmes.

The Amethi and Rae Bareli seats will go to polls on 20 May in the fifth round of the seven-phase general election.

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