Among the few high profile ministers in Narendra Modi government but considered a political lightweight, Smriti Irani proved most people wrong by defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his home turf and a family bastion of Amethi in a direct fight.
Smriti Irani won the seat with a margin of 35,000 votes. While she received 49.02 per cent of vote share, Gandhi trailed behind with 44.44 per cent.
Also Read: Lok Sabha Election Result 2019
“Kaun kehta hai aasmaa me surakh nahinho sakta (who says one can’t achieve the impossible),” Smriti Irani quoted poet Dushyant Kumar in her tweet on her incredible win, reported NDTV.
Taking to Twitter, the BJP leader said, “A new start for the people of Amethi, a new determination. Thank you, Amethi. You trusted and opted for development and allowed the Lotus to bloom. We are thankful to the people of Amethi.”
Acknowledging defeat, Rahul Gandhi congratulated the BJP’s Smriti Irani for her victory. “I want Smriti Irani ji to keep people’s faith and take care of Amethi with love,” he told reporters in a brief press conference after the Congress’s massive defeat in the national election.
Also Read: Assembly Election Result 2019
But losing Amethi is a huge loss of face for the 48-year-old politician, whose leadership of the Congress is also being called to question after the party’s defeat.
Amethi, a dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, has rarely looked beyond the Congress or the Gandhi family ever since it became a Parliamentary constituency in 1967. Congress lost the seat only twice – first when Sanjay Gandhi was defeated in the Janata Party wave in 1977 and the second time in 1998.
Apart from the near-nationwide Modi wave, it was also the effort put in by Irani and BJP president Amit Shah’s meticulous booth level planning that resulted in Rahul Gandhi’s humiliation.
Smriti Irani campaigned aggressively in Amethi. In 2014, she had lost to Rahul Gandhi from Amethi but had managed to reduce his winning margin to one lakh. That should have served as enough warning for the Congress that it could not take the constituency for granted.
Smriti Irani kept visiting the constituency regularly over the past five years and virtually stationed herself in Amethi during her campaign.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, hardly went to his constituency in the run-up to the polls. He was accused by the BJP of neglecting Amethi.
At the height of the election campaign, the Congress president visited Amethi only once, when he held a roadshow before filing his nomination papers. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned in Amethi and her mother Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli and visited the constituencies several times. But it was too late by then.