TV actress-turned-politician Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani today tweeted a message of gratitude for the people of Amethi, the parliamentary constituency where she pulled off the giant feat of defeating Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
"A new morning for Amethi, a new pledge. You placed your trust in development, grateful to Amethi," tweeted Irani after winning by more than 55,000 votes. She had lost to Rahul in the previous polls by a margin of one lakh votes.
This is the first time that the Congress lost an election in Amethi, which had been the Gandhi family pocket-borough for decades, something that had not happened even in 2014 when the party plunged to its lowest ever tally of 44 seats in national poll.
Amethi had voted Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi, his father Rajiv Gandhi and his uncle Sanjay Gandhi over the years.
Many analysts see Irani’s win against Rahul comparable to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's loss in Rae Bareli constituency against Raj Narain in 1977.
The former TV actress Irani did not lose hope after the defeat in 2014. She stuck to her job and visited Amethi, a largely rural constituency, several times in the last five years nurturing it.
During her visits to Amethi, Smriti Irani launched welfare schemes and projected herself as the alternative to a "missing MP", a veiled reference to Rahul.
When Rahul chose a second parliamentary seat in Kerala to contest in the recent election, the BJP called it a sign that he feared defeat in Amethi and planned to abandon the seat in case he won from both the constituencies. The message apparently found takers among Amethi voters.
Apparently taking for granted that the people of Amethi would remain loyal to the Gandhi dynasty, Rahul Gandhi hardly campaigned there. However, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the constituency and addressed meetings. The only time Rahul went to Amethi in the run up to the recent polls was at the time of filing his nomination.