Rai Bareli: UPA Chairperson and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination papers for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday and declared that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not invincible. Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who accompanied his mother Sonia Gandhi, again mounted a blistering attack on the Prime Minister.
“There have been many people in Indian history who had the arrogance to believe that they are invincible and bigger than the people of the country,” he said. “Modi has done nothing for the people in the past five years and his invincibility will be there for all to see after elections.” Rahul Gandhi reiterated his challenge for a debate with the Prime Minister and said that he was ready to go over to the Race Course Road if Modi wanted.
Sonia Gandhi told reporters that she was confident of the love of the people of Rae Bareli. Asked whether she believed that Modi was invincible, she said “Remember 2004. Vajpayeeji was (considered) invincible but we won.” Sonia Gandhi was also accompanied by Congress General Secretary and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi, her husband Robert Vadra and their children.
They earlier performed a ‘havan’ at the Congress office before the roadshow. Thousands of supporters and party workers carrying party flags and cut-outs of their leaders were a part of the show of strength. After filing her nomination papers, Sonia Gandhi visited the home of late Maulana Ali Miyan, a renowned cleric. She also held a meeting with party workers
Sonia Gandhi is trying to retain the Rae Bareli seat for the fifth time. She had won the seat in 2004, 2006 (by-polls), 2009 and 2014. In 2014, there were 15.94 lakh voters in the constituency and the poll percentage was 51.73 per cent, in which Sonia Gandhi had got 5,26,434 votes.
Rae Bareli will vote in the fifth-phase on May 6 and will see a straight contest between Sonia Gandhi and Dinesh Pratap Singh, who recently joined the BJP after leaving the Congress. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have not fielded any candidate in this Congress bastion.
It is noteworthy that since 1957, the Congress has won the seat 19 times, including three by-elections, and lost the seat only thrice – 1977, 1996 and 1998. In 1977, after Emergency, Bhartiya Lok Dal’s Raj Narain had defeated the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and in 1996 and 1998 BJP candidate Ashok Kumar Singh had won the seat. Sonia Gandhi was not in the fray then.
The seat has been held mostly by members of the Nehru-Gandhi family including Feroze Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Arun Nehru and Sheila Kaul in the past. Meanwhile, a green laser light was seen pointing to Rahul Gandhi’s head while he interacted with the media. This was seen later in the video recordings and the Congress promptly demanded an inquiry into this security lapse.