Sonia Gandhi to enter Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan; urges Rae Bareli voters support for her family in Lok Sabha polls

Sonia Gandhi. Image Credit:

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New Delhi/IBNS-CMEDIA: Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Thursday announced her decision not to participate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, citing health reasons. On Wednesday, the former Congress chief submitted her candidacy papers for the Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan.

“Due to health and increasing age, I will not contest the next Lok Sabha elections. After this decision, I will not get the opportunity to serve you directly, but, certainly, my heart and soul will always be with you,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi debuted in active politics in 1999 when she was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Amethi. She went on to become the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and later, in the 2004 general elections, she won from Rae Bareli.

In a letter, Sonia Gandhi conveyed her deep connection to Rae Bareli, thanking the voters for the continuing support and love people of the constituency showed her.

“The close relationship with Rae Bareli is very old. Our family’s ties with Rae Bareli run very deep. In the first Lok Sabha elections held after independence, you made my father-in-law Shri Feroze Gandhi win from here and sent him to Delhi. After him, you made my mother-in-law Mrs Indira Gandhi your own. From then till now, this series has continued with love and enthusiasm through the ups and downs and difficult paths of life, and our faith in it has become stronger,” Gandhi wrote.

Rae Bareli has been traditionally loyal to the Gandhi family. Indira Gandhi’s husband and a leader in the Congress party Feroze Gandhi won twice from Rae Bareli, first in 1952 and then in 1957.

Arun Nehru, the grandnephew of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, secured victories in a by-election in 1980 and again in 1984.

Sheila Kaul, who was Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister-in-law, emerged victorious in the elections of 1989 and 1991.

Notably, members of the Nehru-Gandhi family refrained from contesting this seat only on two occasions, in 1962 and 1999.

Addressing the people of Rae Bareli, Mrs Gandhi wrote: “You also gave me space to walk on this bright path. After losing my mother-in-law and my life partner forever, I came to you and you spread your arms for me. In the last two elections, you stood by me like a rock even in difficult circumstances, I can never forget this. I am proud to say that whatever I am today is because of you and I have always tried to live up to this trust.”

However, Rae Bareli voted against Congress on three occasions—first in the post-Emergency polls when Indira Gandhi was overwhelmed by the Janata Party’s Raj Narain, followed by the 1996 and 1998 defeats when Indira Gandhi’s cousins Vikram Kaul and Deepa Kaul lost against the BJP.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accompanied their mother when she filed her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha in Jaipur on Wednesday.

Sonia Gandhi will make her debut in the Upper House from Rajasthan when the seat becomes vacant in April after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh completes his Rajya Sabha term.

According to media reports, with Sonia Gandhi’s exit, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is likely to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli.