Sonia makes emotional appeal to voters on behalf of her son

Published May 18, 2024
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses his supporters, as his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and their mother Sonia Gandhi look on, during an election campaign rally in Rae Bareli.—Reuters
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses his supporters, as his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and their mother Sonia Gandhi look on, during an election campaign rally in Rae Bareli.—Reuters

NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India’s Congress party, made an emotional appeal to voters in the family borough on Friday, asking them to vote for her son in a region that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party have dominated in the last ten years.

Standing on stage with her children Rahul and Priyanka, Sonia Gandhi, the party’s former chief and former lawmaker from Rae Bareli, in Uttar Pradesh, said her family had a special connection with the constituency.

Rae Bareli, which goes to the polls in the fifth phase of India’s seven phase-long general election, has returned a Congress candidate in 17 of the 20 elections held there since 1952, mostly members of the Gandhi family.

Sonia Gandhi decided not to contest the seat in the current election and her son, Rahul was announced as the candidate from the region.

“I am handing over my son to you. Just as you made me yours, please treat him as one of your own. He will not disappoint you,” Sonia Gandhi said, to loud cheers from the crowd.

Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, will also contest from Wayanad in Kerala state in the south, which has already voted. India allows candidates to contest multiple constituencies but they can represent only one.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies won 64 seats in Uttar Pradesh, including Amethi, near Rae Bareli.

Modi is expected to win a third term in the election that got underway on April 19 and concludes on June 1, with votes set to be counted on June 4.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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