It was 2014. It was what was known as a predictable verdict. Rahul Gandhi winning from Amethi, a pocket borough of the Congress. Cut to 2019. After ever-changing counting trends, the Uttar Pradesh town gave the most stunning victory to the BJP. Smriti Irani, yesteryear's TV star-turned-politician defeated Gandhi from Amethi by a staggering margin of over 55,000 votes. So what is the real story behind the spectacular victory? What was Irani's particular strategy that helped the BJP? Was it just saffron surge or Irani's connect with ground realities in Amethi? These are some of the burning questions that Irani will herself answer at News Nation's Hamari Sansad Sammelan on June 21st.
In 2014, then Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had defeated his nearest rival BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi seat by a whopping margin of 1.07 lakh votes. Gandhi had won the seat in 2009 by a margin of over 3.70 lakh votes. Aam Admi Party's Kumar Vishwas had to content himself at the fourth position behind BSP's Dharmendra Pratap Singh.
But the situation was very different in 2019. Experts view that Gandhi was not clued in with changed scenario. According to a PTI report, indicating that Rahul's connect with the electorate was superficial, an Amethi local had said that "It is his team of advisors that has spoilt his chances." On the contrary, the report talked about how Smriti Irani went to every gram panchayat for canvassing and this appears to have made an impact.
Soon after the verdict, Irani had said that her win was not a "rocket science" as people of the Lok Sabha constituency wanted a representative who would work for them for the next five years. Her victory was due to the development agenda of the Modi government, she said, adding that people of Amethi had reposed their trust in her by voting in large numbers for the BJP in 2014 and that she worked in the past five years to keep their faith.