Congress President Rahul Gandhi was today involved in a see-saw battle in Amethi, the parliamentary constituency and bastion of the Gandhi dynasty, in Uttar Pradesh with early leads showing him trailing behind his BJP challenger Smriti Irani for some moment.
Smriti Irani, the TV actress-turned-politician, had campaigned aggressively in Amethi where she had lost to Rahul Gandhi in the previous parliamentary poll in 2014 but managed to reduce his winning margin to one lakh, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Smirti Irani, however, visited Amethi regularly in the last five years nurturing the constituency and launched a number of welfare schemes there.
Rahul Gandhi, who is also contesting from a second constituency Wayanad in Kerala state, was accused by the BJP of neglecting Amethi.
The Congress President, who helmed his party’s campaign across India, had visited Amethi only once during electioneering when he held a road show before filing his nomination papers.
However, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned there and her mother Sonia Gandhi's constituency Rae Bareli, adjacent to Amethi, and visited the constituencies several times.
The Congress has not lost in Amethi, an impoverished rural constituency, for 21 years. The only time the party was defeated there was in 1998.
Rahul first won Amethi in 2004 with a margin of one lakh votes. In 2009, he retained the seat defeating his nearest rival by 3,70,000 votes. In the last general election in 2014, Rahul defeated Smriti Irani by a margin of 1 lakh votes.