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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Despite candidate shock, Amethi still retains star status

Updated on: 18 May,2024 07:37 AM IST  |  Amethi
Faizan Khan |

Long-time Gandhi loyalist steps into the spotlight, faces off against Smriti Irani in an anticipated showdown

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Despite candidate shock, Amethi still retains star status

K L Sharma at a rally. Pic/Faizan Khan

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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Despite candidate shock, Amethi still retains star status

One of Uttar Pradesh’s most high-profile and closely watched Lok Sabha constituencies, sees Congress fielding K L Sharma, a staunch loyalist of the Gandhi family who has managed elections for them in Amethi and Raebareli for 41 years. While speculation swirled around whether Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi would contest from here, Congress’s announcement of Sharma as their candidate laid it to rest. Although Sharma’s candidacy may have dampened expectations of a showdown between BJP minister Smriti Irani and Rahul Gandhi, the significance of this constituency remains undiminished. 

Your candidacy announcement has taken everyone, including the BJP in Amethi, by surprise. 
It was the party’s decision; I had no prior knowledge as I simply believed in hard work. I’ve seen how Amethi was built brick by brick by the Gandhi family. I’m grateful to the Gandhi family for placing such trust in me. Having spent many years in Amethi, I had the privilege of working closely with the late Rajiv Gandhi Ji, who was one of the most humble politicians I’ve ever encountered. The affection and support that Amethi and Raebareli have for the Gandhi family are unparalleled, and today, I feel that same warmth extended towards me. 

Do you believe that the people of Amethi were hoping for Rahul Gandhi to contest once more from the constituency?
Rahul Gandhi is already contesting from Raebareli, adjacent to Amethi, and he’s also running from Wayanad in Kerala. The people of Amethi understand that wherever Rahul fights, Amethi remains close to his heart. He frequently visits here and has been actively involved in various initiatives, including distributing ration during COVID-19 and of blankets during winter. Unfortunately, the ruling party has halted development projects in Amethi, but we are committed to resuming them starting June 4.

As someone deeply familiar with Amethi, what do you perceive as the central issue in this Lok Sabha election?
The primary concerns in Amethi revolve around unemployment, the region’s development, and the menace of stray cattle damaging crops, a problem prevalent throughout Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, residents are questioning the current MP about unfulfilled promises made during the 2019 elections, such as providing sugar for Rs 13/kg. This dissatisfaction has emerged as a central issue in Amethi. 

What are your thoughts on the BJP’s campaign in Amethi? 
I don’t see it as fighting an election; rather, it’s a continuation of the work I’ve been doing for 41 years. Previously, I worked behind the scenes, and now I’m doing so openly as a candidate. It’s the people who are fighting for me, for Congress, and for the Gandhi family. Visit Amethi and Raebareli, and you’ll find your answers. 

What do you anticipate will be your margin of victory?
To predict a winning margin is arrogance and sin, I leave this to the people of Amethi.

June 4
Day poll results will be out

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