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Sonia files nomination papers from Rae Bareli
April 17, 2006 14:40 IST
Last Updated: April 17, 2006 18:41 IST
Three weeks after quitting Lok Sabha over the office of profit controversy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday filed her nomination for the May 8 by-election in Rae Bareli the traditional Gandhi family pocket borough.
Accompanied by her children Rahul, Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra, the 59-year-old leader filed her papers hailing Rae Bareli as her karma bhoomi and gave broad hints of initiating an exercise for the revival of the party in Uttar Pradesh ahead of next year's assembly polls.
"I am sure things will start looking up. They have already started looking up," she said, when asked about her party's prospects in the assembly polls in the politically crucial state.
Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Salman Khurshid, All India Congress Committee general secretary Ashok Gehlot and several party workers accompanied her to the collectorate, where she filed her nomination for the second time in two years.
Earlier, she drove in an open vehicle to the collectorate with party workers shouting slogans hailing her victory and showering flower petals all the way. As part of family tradition, she performed a havan (religious ceremony) at the Congress party office here before proceeding to file the nomination.
While ruling Samajwadi Party has decided to put up a political greenhorn Rajkumar Chaudhary against Sonia, expelled Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharati has backed the nomination of Apna Dal candidate Prabha Singh Lodhi.
While BJP is still deliberating on whom to put up to face the Congress president, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has announced her support to Sonia. One Mohib-ur-Rahman and a rickshaw puller, Moti Lal, have also filed their candidature as Independents against Sonia.
This will be Sonia's second election from Rae Bareli, where she shifted to in the 2004 polls from neighbouring Amethi to make way for her son's debut in active politics. She resigned as a parliamentarian and from the Chairpersonship of the National Advisory Council on March 23 as a strident Opposition targetted her in the wake of disqualification of Samajwadi party parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan from the Rajya Sabha for holding office of profit.
In the last election, Sonia swept the polls with a margin of 2,49,765 votes against her nearest rival Ashok Singh of the Samajwadi Party.