Rahul Gandhi started contesting Lok Sabha polls from Amethi from 2004, the year when BJP’s India Shining campaign unexpectedly failed; ending Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rule and a coalition government led by Congress’ Manmohan Singh came to power.
Since 1967, when Amethi was carved out as a Lok Sabha constituency, it has been a Congress bastion, only briefly going to Janata Party in post-Emergency wave for three years and for a year to BJP in 1998.
And since 1980, it has been with the Nehru-Gandhi family. Sanjay Gandhi was a member of parliament from here in 1980 but his untimely death saw his brother and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi representing Amethi four times in the Lok Sabha till 1991 when he was killed in a terror attack. After Rajiv, Congress’ Satish Sharma was Amethi’s MP till 1998.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv’s wife, had joined politics and was chosen Congress president in 1998 and Amethi again came back to the Nehru-Gandhi family in 1999 when Sonia Gandhi contested from here, scoring a massive victory.
In the next Lok Sabha polls in 2004, Sonia left Amethi seat for her son Rahul Gandhi and shifted her base to Raebareli, another Nehru-Gandhi citadel and Congress fortress. Since then, Rahul has been winning the Amethi seat.
But while in his previous two terms, in 2004 and in 2009, where he almost got walkovers from other parties with successive gains in his already impressive winning margins, from 49.33 per cent of total valid votes polled in 2004 to 57.25 per cent of total valid votes polled, the battle for 2014 proved a tough one with senior BJP leader Smriti Irani as his main opponent.
She gave a spirited fight and it reflected in Rahul’s winning margin coming drastically down to 12.36 per cent. And we can assume the next one in 2019 is going to be even tougher as Smriti has maintained a regular connect with Amethi, visiting the constituency like she has always been in the electoral mood.
2014 AMETHI LOK SABHA ELECTION
Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 408651 votes
Smriti Irani - BJP - 300748 votes
Margin - 107903 - 12.36% of total valid votes
2009 AMETHI LOK SABHA ELECTION
Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 464195 votes
Asheesh Shukla - BSP - 93997 votes
Margin - 370198 - 57.25% of total valid votes
2004 AMETHI LOK SABHA ELECTION
Rahul Gandhi - Congress - 390179 votes
Chandra Prakash Mishra - BSP - 99326 votes
Margin - 290853 - 49.33% of total valid votes
1999 AMETHI LOK SABHA ELECTION
Sonia Gandhi - Congress - 418960 votes
Dr. Sanjai Singh - BJP - 118948 votes
Margin - 300012 - 48.07% of total valid votes