In what is a major embarrassment for Rahul Gandhi, a once Congress loyalist Haji Haroon Rashid has decided to contest against the party president from Amethi. Rahul Gandhi, who is facing a tough battle from BJP’s Smriti Irani, has already started scouring for a second ‘safe’ seat to contest elections from.
As per reports, Rashid, whose father had proposed Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi’s candidatures back in 1991 and 1999 respectively, has decided to fight as an independent candidate against Congress scion. “What is the point? That they just want our votes? They are scaring us and the BJP? They should focus on development,” said Rashid.
Another local said that the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family do not wish to empower the Muslims in the region because Muslims are more in number. “They know that if we become strong, in future we could become a threat to them that a Muslim from here could become an MP,” said an Amethi resident. Another local, voicing his resentment, said that they have given 70 years to Congress and they didn’t do anything. What will they do now?
As per a Times Now report, as many as 70% of the Muslim population in Amethi, is believed to be extending support to Rashid, which could be a cause of worry to Congress since earlier it was a strong Congress voter base.
Amethi has been a Congress seat for decades now since Sanjay Gandhi won it in 1980. Rajiv Gandhi won it in 1981 after Sanjay Gandhi’s death. He even won in 1984, 1989 and 1991. Following his assassination, Sonia Gandhi contested from Amethi in 1999 and won which she vacated for her son Rahul Gandhi in 2004 who won it in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
In 2014 election, however, Rahul Gandhi faced a tough challenge in Amethi from BJP’s Smriti Irani, who got over 3 lakh votes as against Rahul Gandhi who managed 4.07 votes. The margin this year is expected to be even less and if ground reports are to be believed, Rahul Gandhi may, in all probability, lose Amethi.
Elections in Amethi are scheduled for May 6 and the counting will take place on May 23.