HomePolitics and Current AffairsElectionGehlot masterminded fielding of Rahul from Raebareli

Gehlot masterminded fielding of Rahul from Raebareli

Despite denying to be the president of Congress, Gehlot is still playing a strategic role in Congress

A loyalist of the Gandhi family, three time chief minister of Rajasthan and a former union minister, played a key role in convincing Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli.

The party was facing embarrassment as none from the Gandhi family was keen to contest from either Amethi or Raebareli. Rahul Gandhi was bitter after his experience in 2019 when he lost from Amethi against Smriti Irani. This time Rahul Gandhi's rival will be Dinesh Singh, who lost to Sonia Gandhi in the 2019 election by 1.69 lakh votes.

“Gehlot Saheb convinced Rahul Gandhi that people would vote for him showing their gratitude for Soniaji as she nursed the . After her election to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan when she went to Raebareli to thank the people for their unstinted support, the people asked her either to field Rahul or Priyanka from her seat, Soniaji had made up her mind to field either of the two from there,” said a close confidante of Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur.

Sonia entrusted job to Gehlot

When it became necessary to field someone from the Gandhi family to contest from Raebareli, the mother Sonia Gandhi entrusted the job to Ashok Gehlot to convince her son Rahul Gandhi to file his nomination from Raebareli also.

When the nomination was to be filed by Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli, Ashok Gehlot who was campaigning in was summoned to Raebareli. Sonia Gandhi asked Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC organisational general secretary K C Venugopal and Robert Vadra to air dash to Raebareli. Gehlot had flown to Ahmedabad on Thursday and had campaigned for the Congress in Ahmedabad's two Lok Sabha seats and was planning to leave for Madhya Pradesh when the call from AICC came and was asked to reach Raebareli.

It is learnt that Gehlot first convinced Sonia Gandhi not to contest the Lok Sabha poll and he was principally convinced Sonia Gandhi to contest from Rajasthan the Rajya Sabha seat and field either Priyanka Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi to contest from Raebareli. But fearing a likely defeat and the poor organisational setup of the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh with all the party cadre having left the party to join either the BJP or Samajwadi Party, Rahul was not keen to contest from either Amethi or Raebareli. He was keen to contest only from Wayanad in Kerala from where he was elected in 2019.

Kishori Lal Sharma named candidate from Amethi

After the party decided to field another Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma from Amethi, Priyanka Gandhi took Gehlot with her to be present when Kishori lal Sharma filed nomination from Amethi.

Sharma was always the campaign manager of Sonia Gandhi whenever she contested from Raebareli and he also looked after Amethi when Rahul Gandhi was the member of Lok Sabha from there.

Kishori Lal Sharma is a Punjabi and hails from Ludhiana. He was introduced to Gandhi family by late Captain Satish Sharma. It was Captain Sharma was a commercial pilot like Rajiv Gandhi who worked together for Indian Airlines.

After Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister, he chose Captain Sharma to look after the Amethi constituency and it was Kishori lal Sharma, who under Captain Satish Sharma looked after the constituency staying in Amethi.

Captain Sharma was elected from Amethi in 1991 following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Later, Amethi became the constituency of Rahul Gandhi till he lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

It is learnt that the Gandhi family will entrust the job of campaign to Ashok Gehlot and would be asked to camp in Raebareli and look after both Amethi and Raebareli constituencies. Ashok Gehlot is free now as the two phases of elections in Rajasthan got over.

Prakash Bhandari
Prakash Bhandarihttps://www.thebuckstopper.com/
Prakash Bhandari is a veteran journalist with over 50 years of experience. He has worked with The Times of India for 30 years and contributed to leading publications as well as international news agency AFP.
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