New Delhi: With a margin of over 55,000 votes, Rahul Gandhi lost his home turf Amethi, the seat from where he was chosen as the member of Parliament since 2004, to BJP leader Smriti Irani.
In 2014, too, Irani had given the Congress president a tough fight and garnered over three lakh votes in the parliamentary constituency with vote margin down to a lakh.
Speaking to News18 after the victory, the union leader said her poll campaign focussed on highlighting the unfulfilled promises of the Congress in Amethi.
“We were not concentrating on an individual but on the concept of somebody given the responsibility but not fulfilling it. It has been a consistent effort since the past five years for us. Got the first signs of change in 2014 itself. My organisation persisted with efforts in the constituency and it bore fruits,” Irani said.
Political experts opined that the tenacity shown by the actor-turned-politician seemed to have worked in her favour. Irani stayed put in Amethi for several months, campaigning and interacting with the locals. On the other hand, Gandhi, due to his national duties, spent most of his time touring the country.
“This is just a milestone. Sangathan does ‘Karyakarta Nirmaan’, which is the very foundation of our organisation. We are crafted in such a way that we believe it is a great privilege to serve the people. We got indication about Rahul Gandhi’s failure in 2014, it got reaffirmed in 2017 and in 2019 it became a reality for us,” she said.
The BJP had fielded Irani yet again in the hope that she would improve her performance from five years ago, but Irani had capitalised on Gandhi's absence and has accused him of running away from a fight.
Congratulating Irani for her win, Gandhi hoped she would fulfil the aspirations of the people in Amethi. “I hope Smriti Irani takes care of the people of Amethi with love.” He further said, “I respect the decision and congratulate Smriti Irani ji,” he said.
Gandhi also offered to resign from his post after the party was once again routed at the hands of Narendra Modi-led BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, sources told News18. However, erstwhile Congress supremo and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi turned down the offer.
Sources told News18 that the matter will be taken up by the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in its next meeting, scheduled some time later this week.