Congress President Rahul Gandhi is fighting a tough battle in Amethi, his constituency in Uttar Pradesh since 2004. As early leads came in, Rahul Gandhi was behind the BJP’s Smriti Irani but he caught up later.
In a close contest, Irani is leading by about 5,000 votes. So far, Gandhi has received 44,539 votes, while the Union minister has won 49,188 votes.
Rahul Gandhi is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, where he has been leading since morning.
As the devastating outlook for the Congress started unfolding with vote counts, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen driving to the home in Delhi of her brother Rahul Gandhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to return to power with a spectacular mandate; his BJP will win a majority on its own and along with allies, cross 300, according to leads. The Congress and its allies are just above 100 in leads.
Rahul Gandhi is fighting a tough battle to keep Amethi, his constituency since 2004, against a strong challenge from the BJP’s Smriti Irani. He is ahead in Wayanad.
What is worse for the party is that the BJP looks set for a landslide in states like Rajasthan, which the Congress won just in December. And even Madhya Pradesh is presenting a grim picture for Congress.
At Amethi, Congress could await its most humiliating shock. A dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, Amethi features one of the most watched battles in this national election.
Smriti Irani campaigned aggressively in Amethi, where she had contested and lost to Rahul Gandhi in 2014 but had managed to reduce his winning margin to one lakh. She kept visiting the constituency regularly and launched central schemes there.
Rahul Gandhi, his party’s chief campaigner across India, was accused by the BJP of neglecting his constituency.
At the height of the election campaign, the Congress president visited Amethi only once, when he held a roadshow before filing his nomination papers. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned in Amethi and her mother Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli and visited the constituencies several times.
Rahul Gandhi’s struggle was telling in his traditional seat, a Congress stronghold that has remained with the Gandhi family for decades.
The Congress has not lost the seat in the last three decades, except in 1998.