Congress banking on Gandhis to improve Rae Bareli tally

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Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi
Rae Bareli (UP), Feb 17: Congress is heavily banking on the charisma of the Gandhis to maintain or improve its 2007 Assembly performance in which the party had secured five out of seven seats in this family pocket borough.

In the changed scenario after creation of CSM Nagar, Rae Bareli which goes to polls on February 19 has five seats--- Sadar, Sareni, Bachrawan, Harchandpur and Unchahar. Congress has fielded its four sitting MLAs, who are banking on development work done by Sonia and the charisma of Rahul and Priyanka.

In the Sadar seat despite all efforts, the Congress has failed to make any inroads into the citadel of independent MLA and erstwhile Congress leader Akhilesh Kumar Singh. Singh, who is national general secretary of the Peace Party is in the fray again.

SP, BJP and BSP have fielded R P Yadav, Susheel Sharma and Pushpendra Singh, respectively. This seat is retained by Akhilesh Singh since 1993, when he won on a Congress ticket and repeated his victory in 1996 and 2002 from the same party.

In 2007, Singh, who is considered a heavyweight in the area won as an independent candidate despite hectic campaigning by Priyanka against him. Besides the Gandhi family, prestige of BSP state president Swami Prasad Muarya, who has fielded his son Utkarsh from Unchahar is also at stake.

PTI

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