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An Amethi first in 10 years for Sonia

Sonia Gandhi

Lucknow, April 19: Sonia Gandhi today campaigned in her son’s constituency for the first time in 10 years and outlined the family’s deep bond with Amethi.

But though she invoked Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi, she did not mention brother-in-law Sanjay Gandhi who was elected from Amethi in 1980 a few months before his death. Rajiv won the by-election in 1981.

“My mother-in-law and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had handed over the charge of this constituency to my husband Rajiv Gandhi and I have repeated the act by giving it to Rahul in 2004,” Sonia said.

Sonia became Amethi MP in 1999 but when son Rahul Gandhi entered politics in 2004, she vacated the seat for him and moved to neighbouring Rae Bareli.

She campaigned for Rahul in 2004 but not in 2009. The Congress’s rivals claim that Sonia had to campaign here this time because Rahul is facing a stiff contest.

Sonia praised Rahul’s efforts to carry the Gandhi legacy forward in the constituency.

“You have poured your love and affection on both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka. Amethi is not just a karmabhoomi (workplace) for the Gandhis; it’s their place of struggle,” she told a rally at Nandmahar village.

“Here people have worked shoulder to shoulder with the Gandhi family for the area’s development.”

She praised Rahul’s success in creating a network of women’s self-help groups that have empowered women in the constituency.

“Today, lakhs of sisters have become self-reliant after joining the self-help group movement in Amethi,” Sonia said.

She landed at Fursatganj this afternoon and was driven to the rally venue because bad weather had made flying impossible.

Strong winds damaged the tents and the big screen installed to carry her address live to the gathering. She, however, thanked the people for coming despite the bad weather.

Sonia attacked the BJP for alleging that no development had taken place in the country under any Congress government.

“They are spreading all kinds of canards. We have initiated strong measures to punish the corrupt; has the BJP done it? Not at all. The BJP is also spreading the lie that under Congress rule, since Independence, nothing has happened in the country,” Sonia said.

“You tell me, where did the highways, big dams, nuclear power, White Revolution, Green Revolution, information technology come from? Have all these fallen from the sky?”

Amethi votes on May 7