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‘Pick a channel, anchor, issue for debate: Smriti Irani’s challenge to Priyanka, Rahul Gandhi | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani has thrown down the gauntlet to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, inviting them to a debate on any television channel, with an anchor of their choice, at a time and place of their choosing, and on any issue they desire. Irani declared, “Dono bhai-behen ek taraf aur BJP ka ek pravakta ek taraf, doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jaayega (On one side, there will be the brother-sister duo and on the other side, there will be a spokesperson of the BJP; everything will be clear),” asserting that BJP’s Sudhanshu Trivedi alone would suffice to provide them with an answer.In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Irani emerged victorious in Amethi, defeating Rahul Gandhi by a margin of 55,000 votes and bringing an end to the Gandhi family’s long-standing hold on the constituency. As the focus shifts back to Amethi and Rae Bareli, considered traditional strongholds of the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi has decided to contest from Rae Bareli, while the family’s close aide, Kishori Lal Sharma, has been pitted against Smriti Irani in Amethi.Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has consistently played a crucial role in these constituencies, from behind-the-scenes to frontline campaigning, is currently stationed in Rae Bareli since Monday, spearheading the party’s poll strategy, management, and campaign. In the 2019 general elections, Sonia Gandhi secured victory in Rae Bareli, defeating BJP’s Dinesh Pratap Singh by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes. However, her victory margin witnessed a 13 percent decline compared to the 2014 elections.In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress managed to win only two seats in Uttar Pradesh – Rae Bareli and Amethi. However, in 2019, the party’s tally further dwindled to just one seat after losing Amethi. This time around, Rahul Gandhi aims to preserve the family’s long-standing legacy in Rae Bareli, while Kishori Lal Sharma faces the formidable challenge posed by Smriti Irani.Sonia Gandhi had successfully retained Rae Bareli for four consecutive terms before transitioning to the Rajya Sabha this time. The Congress party, determined to stage a strong comeback after suffering historic defeats in 2014 and 2019, faces an uphill battle in reclaiming Amethi and maintaining its hold on Rae Bareli. It is worth noting that in the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Congress failed to secure a single assembly seat under Rae Bareli, underscoring the daunting nature of the task at hand.


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