Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi troubles have just got multiplied. Already facing a stiff challenge from BJP’s Smriti Irani in his home turf, the Gandhi scion got a jolt on Monday after a local Congress leader’s son announced that he would contest the Lok Sabha election from Amethi against him. The man, Haji Haroon Rasheed, is the son of Haji Sultan Khan who had signed as the proposer on the nomination forms of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 elections and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in 1999 polls.
Rasheed has said the family felt “completely sidelined” in the Congress.
“And now entire community is feeling neglected due to the local leadership here,” news agency IANS quoted him as saying. “The local leadership of the Congress has been neglecting us for long time. And due to this, the development of the area as well as the community… both were hampered,” he added.
On his prospects in the contest in Amethi that has been a Congress stronghold, Rasheed told IANS: “There are about 6.5 lakh Muslim voters in the constituency and we all will vote against Congress.”
The family lives in Fursatganj in Amethi that has been with the Gandhis for nearly four decades now. Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, as also Priyanka Gandhi, have visited Rasheed’s residence in the past.
Rasheed will contest as an Independent candidate.
Speaking to Times Now, he accused the Congress of cheating the Muslim community that had been voting for the party for the last 50 years. He said the party did nothing for the community in Amethi. Complaining of no development in the area, Rasheed also accused the ruling BJP of ignoring Amethi. Calling Rahul an outsider, he said Amethi now needed a local leader as its representative in Parliament.
Rahul Gandhi has been representing Amethi in the Lok Sabha since 2004. His victory in the 2014 polls had come after some anxious moments, with nearest rival Smriti Irani securing over 3 lakh votes against his 4.07 lakh votes.
People in Amethi complain that Rahul Gandhi has not been able to ensure development of the area that has been with the family since 1980 when Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of former PM Indira Gandhi, won the seat. After his death, Rajiv Gandhi contested the bypoll held for the parliamentary seat in 1981. he went on to win the Lok Sabha elections of 1984, 1989 and 1991 from Amethi. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, his wife Sonia Gandhi contested from Amethi in 1999 and won.
Sonia Gandhi left the seat for Rahul Gandhi in 2004, and since then he has been the sitting MP from Amethi.
Amethi goes to polls on May 6. A lot is at stake all eyes will be on May 23 when the election verdict will come.