While Rahul Gandhi Held Forth On India's Democracy In London, Akhilesh Yadav Unveiled SP's Plans For Amethi 2024
If the SP does field a candidate in Amethi in 2024, it could even make it difficult for the Congress to save its deposit.
Akhilesh Yadav, the chief of the Samajwadi Party, has strongly hinted that his party might field a candidate for the Amethi seat in the 2024 general elections. Traditionally, the SP leaves this constituency for the Congress.
Yadav, who visited Amethi on Sunday for the wedding of an influential party leader and former UP minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati's daughter, gave the indication in a tweet in Hindi. He also made a veiled attack at the Gandhis. He wrote,
"I felt very sad seeing the plight of poor women in Amethi. Here, the VIPs always win and lose, yet if the situation is like this here, what can be said about the rest of the state?
Next time, Amethi will not choose big people, but people with big hearts. SP is committed to eliminating the poverty of Amethi."
Both Amethi and Rae Bareli seats have been traditional seats of Congress in Uttar Pradesh.
In support to the Gandhi family, SP had not fielded a candidate on the seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In all these years, Rahul Gandhi would contest from Amethi while Sonia Gandhi would contest from Rae Bareli.
In the last election, BJP's Smriti Irani created history by defeating Rahul Gandhi from Congress's pocket borough.
State Congress leader Ajay Rai recently stated that Gandhi would contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi again. Rai expressed confidence in the Gandhi-Nehru family's long-standing relationship with Amethi, adding that no one could weaken it.
However, the Congress has been shrinking in politically important Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs (Members of Parliament) to Lok Sabha. In the previous general election, the Congress could win only the Rae Bareli seat of Sonia Gandhi.
Additionally, in the 2022 Amethi assembly seat election, the SP's Maharaji Prajapati defeated the BJP's Sanjay Singh, with the Congress' Ashish Shukla finishing a distant third.
The Congress also drew a blank in the five assembly seats in Rae Bareli.
SP's decision to put up a candidate for Amethi this time around indicate their lack of faith in the Congress's ability to win the seat back from the BJP.
If the SP does field a candidate, it is likely to cut into Congress's votes and may even make it difficult for the party to save its deposit.
In the previous elections, the BJP secured 50 per cent of the vote share while Congress came second at 44 per cent, making it a direct two-way fight. However, with the SP pulling its weight behind, it might replace the Congress altogether.
The SP's decision also indicates their refusal to see the Congress as leading the opposition camp. Recently, Akhilesh Yadav spoke highly of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and participated in rallies of DMK chief M K Stalin in Chennai and BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, along with AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwat Mann, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Yadav extended moral support to the Bharat Jodo Yatra during its UP leg in January, but nobody from the SP joined the event.
As former allies drift apart, it's clear that it's the Congress that is facing a decline, and not Indian democracy.
(with inputs from PTI)
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