'If Amethi Wants Me...': Robert Vadra Hints At Contesting Lok Sabha Polls

Robert Vadra is Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s husband and a businessman (File).

New Delhi:

Robert Vadra, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra‘s husband, has hinted at his political debut – a blockbuster entrance from the party’s stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. On Thursday evening he declared “the people of Amethi expect me to represent them… if I decide to become a MP”.

Mr Vadra also snuck in a jibe at Amethi’s current MP – Union Minister Smriti Irani – telling news agency ANI “the person who was elected last time is only concerned with attacking the Gandhi family, and not with ensuring the development of the area and well-being of its people”.

“For years… the Gandhi family worked hard in Raebareli (the Congress’ other Uttar Pradesh stronghold, which was won by Sonia Gandhi in 2019), Sultanpur, and Amethi. But now people of Amethi are troubled by the current MP. They believe they made a mistake by electing her,” he said.

“When the people of Amethi feel they have made a mistake, when they feel they want the Gandhi family to come back or if they want me… then they will give a big win to the Congress,” he said.

Amethi votes on May 20, in the fifth phase of polling. Results will be out on June 4.

Will He, Won’t He? Robert Vadra’s Political Debut

This is not the first time Mr Vadra has flirted with the idea of joining politics.

In April 2022 he said he was ready to do so “if people want”.

“If people wish I should represent them, and if I can bring some change, then I will take this step,” he told reporters in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, claiming he only wants serve people “in a major way”.

NDTV ARCHIVES | Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi’s Son-In-Law, To Join Politics?

“Let’s see what happens ahead. We used to discuss every day in the family about the kind of politics taking place today and how the nation is changing,” he said.

Three years before that – in the build-up to the 2019 general election – Mr Vadra said he would not enter active politics till he is cleared of charges in an ongoing corruption case. He said, “I am always going to be in India (but) I will not be active politics till I clear my name. That is my promise.”

NDTV ARCHIVES | “No To Active Politics Till My Name Cleared”: Robert Vadra

Mr Vadra faces multiple corruption charges, including an Enforcement Directorate investigation relating to alleged money laundering in the purchase of a property in London in the United Kingdom.

At the time Mr Vadra – as he said today too – also emphasised his desire to “earn” any political recognition or electoral win that may come his way.

NDTV ARCHIVES | “I Want To Earn It”: Robert Vadra On Joining Politics

“I have utmost respect for the legacy. It’s not OK that because I am part of this family I can say, ‘I am also somebody important or significant’. I have to earn it. That’s what my mother taught me,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

Congress’ Amethi Candidate?

The Congress will contest 17 of UP’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, with the remaining 63 going to INDIA bloc ally Samajwadi Party and regional outfits. The party has declared candidates for 14 seats so far.

On its candidates for Amethi and Raebareli, the party has remained silent.

There was furious speculation last month that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi would pose a high-profile twin challenge to the BJP, which has dominated UP’s electoral politics over the past decade.

READ | Priyanka’s Poll Debut From Raebareli, Rahul’s Amethi Redux

Mr Gandhi was supposed to contest the Amethi seat he held from 2004 till 2014, till the shock loss to Smriti Irani in the 2019 election. The senior Congress leader lost by over 50,000 votes.

Ms Irani was his rival in 2014 and 2019, and has been tasked with defending her seat in this election.

The BJP’s plans for Amethi, therefore, are clear.

Less clear are its plans for the Raebareli, which has been held by former Congress boss Sonia Gandhi since 2004. Mrs Gandhi will not, however, contest this election; she has shifted to the Rajya Sabha.

READ | “Rae Bareli Calling”: Posters Backing Priyanka In Congress Bastion

There was (and still is) talk that the Congress will field Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, from the seat, setting up what will be an interesting husband-wife combination for Amethi and Raebareli voters.

With input from agencies

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