That Rahul Gandhi lost in Amethi underscores the erosion that the Congress is facing across India. (Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Amethi Election Results 2019: BJP’s Smriti Irani Unseats Rahul Gandhi From Family Bastion

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Smriti Irani has defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion of Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, by a margin of 55,120 votes. According to the Election Commission website, Irani polled 4,68,514 votes while Gandhi secured 4,13,394 votes.

“The people of Amethi have spoken and I respect it. This is a democracy,” Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi. “I hope she will fulfill aspirations of the people of Amethi.” The Congress president had defeated Irani by 1,07,903 votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi, however, won from Wayanad, Kerala, by a margin of 4,31,770 votes against his nearest rival PP Suneer of the Communist Party of India.

Union textile minister Smriti Irani. (Photo: PTI)
Union textile minister Smriti Irani. (Photo: PTI)

On whether he will step down after the party’s poor show in the Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi said the Congress Working Committee will meet and decide. “Want to thank all Congress workers who have worked hard. It was an ideological fight,” he said, congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the landslide victory.

That Gandhi lost in Amethi underscores the erosion that the Congress is facing across the country. Along with Raebareli, where Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi won by a margin of 1,67,178 votes, Amethi has almost always been held by the Congress—barring a few years in the late 1970s and late 1990s.

The constituency, formed in 1967, has been represented by Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi, however, has held the seat the longest—from 2004 to 2019.

The Amethi Lok Sabha constituency comprises five assembly segments: Tiloi, Salon, Jagdishpur, Gauriganj and Amethi.

For Irani, a win in Amethi comes with the bragging rights of having defeated a Gandhi in a family bastion, as well as marks her first Lok Sabha election victory. The union textile minister, after her loss from the seat in 2014, was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2017.

2019 was the first time Gandhi stepped out of the Congress bastion of Amethi to contest from a second seat in Wayanad—a move that was attacked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during election campaigning.

Congress, however, had said that Gandhi chose to contest from Wayanad to fight the “discriminatory attitude” of the BJP towards the southern states in India.

The Wayanad seat, formed in 2009, is considered a stronghold of the Congress. The seat was won by former Kerala Congress president MI Shanawaz in 2009 and 2014 and fell vacant after he died in 2018.

Watch Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s press conference here: