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Battle for Amethi Intensifies, Smriti Irani Names Priyanka Vadra as Main Opponent

In the historic Amethi Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress may have placed Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma against Smriti Irani; nevertheless, the Union minister claims that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress national secretary, is her “opponent.”

“I do not want to indulge in juvenile politics,” the incumbent Amethi MP told news agency, when asked about Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from nearby Rae Bareli instead of his former constituency, and his sister not making her electoral debut despite much speculation.

“My opponent is Priyanka Vadra, she is fighting from the backstage. At least the brother was in front. In 2014 too, Rahul won by a margin of 1.07 lakh votes,” Irani stated.

As the Gandhis of Congress, the general secretary has been actively lobbying for the two seats. Members of the first family of the grand old party or their aides have received several terms from both Amethi and Rae Bareli. While Rahul Gandhi made his Amethi debut in 2004 and won two more terms, BJP’s Irani defeated him in 2019, five years after she finished second to him. Sonia Gandhi, the twins’ mother, is a former Amethi MP who won five straight elections from Rae Bareli. But the then-leader of the Congress also contested and prevailed from Wayanad in Kerala, allowing him to stay a Member of Parliament (MP).

Rahul was again a candidate from Wayanad, which cast its vote in the second phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections on April 26. A few days later, he was selected by the Congress to represent Rae Bareli, a seat that Sonia Gandhi had left empty in February and transferred to the Rajya Sabha. In Amethi, Sharma was selected in opposition to Irani.

On May 20, both constituencies will hold polls during the fifth phase. The ruling BJP has selected Uttar Pradesh minister Dinesh Pratap Singh from Rae Bareli. Singh was defeated by Sonia Gandhi in 2019 but was able to narrow the margin of victory.

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