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Amethi 2014: Rahul Gandhi's toughest battle ever

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 - 7:59pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

Rahul Gandhi, born on June 19, 1970 into the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, is the son of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi.

Gandhi did his schooling from the St Columbia school in New Delhi and later from the Doon School, Dehradun in Uttarakhand. However he and his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, had to be homeschooled from the year 1983 onwards due to threats over Indira Gandhi's life from the Sikh militants. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh militants in the year 1984.

Rahul later attended St Stephens college in Delhi and later Harvard University for his undergraduate education. However after his father was assassinated in 1991 by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists, he had to transfer to Rollins college for security reasons. He completed his degree in the year 1994. The threats were of such grave nature that Gandhi had to live under a false name in Florida while attending his college. Gandhi went on to receive an MPhil in Development Economics from Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Gandhi later worked for the Moniter Group, London, for three years. In 2002, he was one of the directors of a Mumbai outsourcing firm Backops Services Private Limited. 

Priyanka Gandhi was expected to carry on the family legacy due to her Indira Gandhi-like charisma but in a surprising turn of events, Rahul Gandhi announced his candidature from Amethi in 2004. Amethi happens to be a Congress stronghold from where Rajiv Gandhi and later Sonia Gandhi had successfully contested elections. 

Gandhi in a statement to the press said the he was standing in the elections against the ongoing divisive politics based on religious and caste lines. The incumbent party at that time was the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya janata Party (BJP). Gandhi emerged victorious in Amethi with over 100,000 votes.

Gandhi campaigned in Rae Bareilly, his mother's constituency for re-elections in 2006 and in Amethi in 2007 for the Assembly elections. 

His political position was elevated in the Congress in 2007 when he was appointed the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee. He was also made the Chairperson of Indian Youth Congress and National Students Union of India. Gandhi's entry into youth politics gained overwhelming response as both youth bodies received great number of membership after he took charge.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi retained his seat in Amethi with over 330,000 votes.

Gandhi's campaigning for the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections didn't gain favourable results since the Congress won only two out of 15 constituencies in Amethi. Gandhi was not made the head of campaigning for Gujarat assembly elections held in 2013 to avoid being defeated by Bharatiya Janata Party's incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi was made the vice-president of the Indian National Congress in 2013. 

For the 2014 Lok Sabha elections Gandhi has found a worthy opponent in Kumar Vishwas of the Aam Aadmi Party who not only is extremely popular among the youth but is also said to have captured Amethi voter's imagination through guerilla campaigning. The battleground in Amethi has turned has never before gained such attention. This election season Amethi was audience to speeches by AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and the BJP's Narendra Modi apart from the regular campaigner Priyanka Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi has set out a clear agenda for Amethi this year. However most of the attention has gone to the name calling and blame game typical to the pre-poll campaigning. 

It is yet to be seen if the Congress vice-president would be thrown off from Amethi all the three major parties AAP, BJP and the Congress have left no stone unturned to influence the electorate of Amethi.

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