Rahul Gandhi, having failed the litmus test at Amethi, his family's traditional seat for decades, congratulated Smriti Irani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP at a press conference in the capital this evening. "The people of Amethi have given a mandate. I would like to congratulate Smriti Irani," he said. "I had said during my election campaigns that public is the ruler. The public has chosen Modi and I congratulate him," he added. The Congress President is trailing BJP's Irani by over 38,400 votes. This is his first defeat from this seat after three consecutive terms since 2004.
Gandhi also told the media that the Congress Working Committee would meet soon to discuss the loss. The Grand Old Party could only add a handful of seats to its 2014 tally of 44 seats.
Meanwhile, the TV star-turned-politician has tweeted about her victory saying nothing is impossible. Irani picked up a line from a famous ghazal by Dushyant Kumar, "Kaun kehta hai aasman mein surakh nahi ho sakta", which rough translates in English as "Who says the sky cannot be punctured with a hole". In the 2014 elections, Gandhi had defeated her by over 1 lakh votes.
In many ways, the writing on the wall was clear where Gandhi is concerned. He had won his first election from this seat with over 66 per cent votes in 2004. The vote share increased to nearly 72 per cent in 2009 but fell drastically in the last general elections. At 46.71 per cent, his vote share was the lowest for a Congress candidate from the Gandhi family in Amethi.
When asked what went wrong in his opinion, Gandhi said what he thought did not matter today but told Congress party workers to not feel dejected and to keep the faith. "The Congress will continue to fight its ideological battle with BJP unitedly," he said, asking the party workers to not be afraid.
With PTI inputs