The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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On Indira turf, with family & history

Rae Bareli, April 6: Tilak on forehead, pallu drawn over her head and nervously pushing back a stubborn strand of hair, the bahu stepped into the shoes of the saas as Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination today.

“It is history being repeated in the Congress,” Sonia said to loud cheers, having moved to Indira Gandhi’s Rae Bareli seat after vacating Amethi for son Rahul. “I am happy with the way people here have accepted me.”

Ringed by Rahul, Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra, Sonia signed on the dotted line, the decrepit fans in the district magistrate’s crammed office whirring noisily. At one point, Rahul flicked an imaginary speck of dust off his mother’s face, standing firmly by her in support.

Outside, over 5,000 Congress supporters raised slogans in the name of the bharatiya bahu, privileged that they had got yet another chance to vote in a Nehru-Gandhi. Rae Bareli was, after all, not only the seat of Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi, it was also the place from where she had romped home thrice.

“The voters of Rae Bareli have got another chance to serve another Gandhi,” said Moit Khan of Babuganj, scarcely able to contain his joy. Others cheered wildly without caring two hoots about the midday sun blazing down on their heads.

Some even began to reminisce how people had spilled on to the streets weeping when Indira Gandhi lost the election once.

Job done, Sonia launched into a tirade against the BJP. Accusing the party of using religion to come to power, she said: “But this poll is to decide the future of the country. I look at it as a challenge — we will give them a befitting reply. The Congress never shirked any challenge.

“Let us bring back the Congress by dethroning the BJP and save the country.”

Rahul stuck to his earlier line that he was not the dynasty’s heir apparent and that he, like many other youngsters, had just taken a first tentative step into politics. He would try his best to understand and nurse Amethi, he said. Mincing no words, he said he did not see the Congress bagging too many votes in these elections. “I don’t have any magic to change everything… Like many politicians, I am not the one to hide the truth from people.”

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