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Rahul Gandhi: A life in politics

Rahul Gandhi: A life in politics
Rahul Gandhi: A life in politics

March 2004: Rahul Gandhi made his entry into politics by announcing that he would contest May 2004 elections, standing for his father’s former constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament). The seat had been held by his mother Sonia Gandhi until she moved to the neighbouring seat of Rae Bareilly in the northern state.

2006: Managed his mother’s campaign for re-election to Rae Bareilly, which was won with a victory margin of more than 400,000 votes.

2007: He was a prominent figure in the Congress’s campaign for the UP Assembly elections. Congress, however, won only 22 seats of the 403 seats with 8.53 per cent of votes.

Sept 24, 2007: He was appointed General Secretary of All India Congress Committee in a reshuffle of the party secretariat. In the same reshuffle, he was also given charge of Indian Youth Congress and National Students Union of India.

2008: Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily mentioned ‘Rahul-as-PM’ idea when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was abroad. He was elevated to the position of the vice-president of the party in January 2013.

2009: In the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul retained his Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 370,000 votes. He was credited with Congress revival in UP where the party won 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats.

2012: Campaigned during the 2012 UP legislative assembly elections for almost two months, holding 200 rallies. However, the Congress emerged as the fourth party in the state, winning 28 seats, an increase of six seats from the previous 2007 elections.

2014: Contested the 2014 general elections from his constituency Amethi and led the election campaign of Congress. He held the Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Smriti Irani, by a reduced margin of 107,000 votes.

Under his leadership, Congress suffered its worst ever performance in elections and won only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won previously in the 2009 general election.

2015: In February, he went on a leave of absence to an “undisclosed location to reflect both on recent events related to the party and its future course”. After returning, he addressed the farmer and worker’s rally, named as ‘Kisan Khet Mazdoor Rally’ in Ramlila Maidan on April 19, 2015. The rally was attended by 100,000 people. In his speech, he criticised PM Narendra Modi on his comment in Toronto where he said that he was “cleaning the mess created by previous governments.”