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India’s Congress party matriarch files poll nomination from family bastion

Published: April 11, 2019

STORY: India’s main opposition Congress party’s matriarch, Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination papers on Thursday (April 11) from the family bastion of Rae Bareli for the general elections 2019.

The party’s stronghold in northern India has voted for Sonia Gandhi since 2004. Gandhi along with her son Congress party President Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi performed an auspicious Hindu ritual of ‘yajna’ for good fortune before heading to file her nomination, rallying with her supporters in a huge road show.

Congress is trying to build an opposition alliance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Italian-born 72-year-old, who forged a Congress-led coalition government for two successive terms in 2004 and 2009 to run the world’s largest democracy, has played a slightly reduced public role since being treated abroad for illness in 2011.

In 2017, she handed over the reins of the Congress Party to her 48-year-old son Rahul, who will contest the Amethi constituency in the state, which was earlier the seat of former Prime Minister of India and Sonia’s husband, Rajeev Gandhi’s constituency.

Cabinet Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Smriti Irani, who is contesting from BJP against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, also filed her nomination papers on Thursday. Irani had given a close fight to the Congress president in 2014 general election from the same seat.

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