Ex-President of Congress Party and the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Sonia Gandhi, is visiting her Lok sabha constituency Rae Bareli. Her political constituency since 2004, Rae Bareli has been a stronghold of the Indian National Congress (INC) since the 1999 general elections. The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi too used to contest elections from the Rae Bareli seat. Rae Bareli seat has seen fierce and decisive elections since the very beginning and has played a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of the elections in other parts of the state and nation.
An important place like the Rae Bareli has often been neglected by the Congress Party and its leaders. This visit by Sonia Gandhi is taking place after a gap of almost 20 months. This two day visit started with the inauguration of an Indian Medical Association (IMA) building in Nehru Nagar. The IMA office bearers informed her that the building was completed almost a year back and the poor patients would be treated free of cost in the future here.
Gandhi had donated a sum of Rs. 10 Lakhs in 2015-16 from her Members of Parliament Local Area Development Division (MPLAD) fund for construction of the building. The ground floor of the building was completed and the IMA officials waited for the arrival of Mrs. Gandhi for the inauguration. The inauguration on Tuesday will help the IMA officials in beginning their charitable work. A further sum of Rs. 10 lakhs has been granted for the completion of the building. During her two day visit, after a gap of almost 2 years, Sonia Gandhi will be attending the district vigilance and monitoring committee meet and will most likely have a talk with the Congress Party workers and voters from Rae Bareli.
Sonia Gandhi has been unwell in the recent past so we can understand her absence from Rae Bareli. But, what one fails to understand is how she chose not to visit her own constituency in almost 20 months? Was it deliberate neglect of her area or she had better things to do than meeting and learning about the needs of her voters who had chosen her as their leader continuously since 2004?
Rae Bareli is not the most developed part of the country. People face many hardships here. It lacks basic facilities such as regular electricity and quality education. The conditions of unemployment and illiteracy have driven away many people of the younger generation to cities in search of jobs and employment. The indifference of the Congress Party leaders like Sonia Gandhi has not helped Rae Bareli develop at the fast pace in which it should have. The same could be said for Rahul Gandhis’ constituency Amethi but the mention of Amethi will provide enough material for another day.
This could also be read as Sonia Gandhi’s reading of the situation. Amethi is a lost cause now and Congress most certainly cannot afford the loss of two prestige seats. Sonia’s last minute visit to Rae Bareli is a visible sign of the fact that people right at the top of Congress party can also see the big bold writing on the wall.
The people of Rae Bareli have tolerated the indifference of Congress Party for many years. They should be willing to show their dissent in the 2019 elections and that is what makes this visit a necessity for Sonia Gandhi and Congress Party. They are afraid of what the voters have in store for them in the upcoming elections. Not fulfilling the needs of the voters and giving them hollow promises will not work anymore for the Congress Party and the Gandhi family in the coming days, and wouldn’t that be wonderful?