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Sonia files nomination for Rae Bareli LS bypoll

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Rae Bareli, Apr 17 (UNI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi today filed her nomination papers for the May 8 Rae Bareli Lok Sabha bypoll, expressing confidence that things had started looking up for the party in Uttar Pradesh.

Accompanied by her MP son Rahul, daughter Priyanka, son-in-law Robert Vadra alongwith senior Congress leaders, Ms Gandhi submitted four sets of nomination papers to returning officer and district magistrate Jitendra Kumar.

She also read out the customary oath during the filing of papers.

Her proposers in the nomination include Surendra Pratap Singh, Kamal Nain Verma, Ashok Singh, Uma Shanker Mishra and Dr Muslim.

Counsel Raghavendra Mishra aided her in the legal obligations with the nomination even though there was heavy rush inside the room.

Present on the occasion were two union ministers Ahhilesh Das and Sriprakash Jaiswal, Congress in charge of UP Ashok Ghelot, UP Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari and UP Congress president Salman Khurshid.

Before reaching the collectorate, she held a brief roadshow en route to Rae Bareli from Lucknow.

The AICC president offered prayer at a Hanuman temple at Churwa on the Lucknow-Rae Bareli border. Later, she participated in a 'puja' at Tilak Bhawan, the district Congress headquarter before filing her papers.

Ms Gandhi is also expected to visit the Ali Mian Mazar in the city before returning to Lucknow to board a flight for New Delhi this evening.

Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi has been appointed poll manager for the Congress president in the bypoll. He would campaign in the segment from April 24.

The byelection was necessitated after Ms Gandhi resigned from the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat last month following the office of profit controversy. She also stepped down as chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

During a public meeting in Rae Bareli on March 28, the Congress chief had announced her decision to seek re-election ''to silence her critics for whom she was enemy number 1.'' Congress election managers are now focussing on her 'sacrifice.'' Various other issues related to law and order situation and development of UP would also draw attention.

''Things have already started looking up in UP for Congress and the process will continue further,'' she maintained in a brief chat with mediapersons after filing her papers.

She said the byelection will certainly boost Congress in UP.

Talking about the Gandhis' attachment with Rae Bareli, she observed that Rae Bareli and Amethi were the ''karmabhoomi'' for her family, which was dedicated towards the development of the area.

''I can only ensure that after my re-election from Rae Bareli, the development process will move more speedily.'' Ms Gandhi, however, walked away from the media with a smile when questioned on the opposition charge that she had forced the byelection in Rae Bareli.

UNI NAB/MB VS RP HT1500

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