Sonia away amid 'generational shift'

UP polls: Raebareli goes to polls today, Amethi votes on Monday

Sonia away amid 'generational shift'

For the first time in 17 years, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will not participate in the ongoing election campaign amid buzz of ‘generational shift’ in the party with the leadership baton set to be passed on to her son Rahul Gandhi.

The 70-year-old Sonia, who has also been keeping unwell, has decided to stay away from the campaign trail and has instead issued a ‘personal letter’ to the voters of Amethi and Raebareli, appealing them to elect Congress candidates with a thumping majority and strengthen her position to ensure the speedy development of the region.

“Despite my strong desire, I am unable to be in your midst for some reasons. Please consider this as my personal letter,” she said in the letter circulated among voters in Amethi and Raebareli.

Raebareli goes to polls on Thursday and Amethi votes on Monday. There was a strong buzz that the Congress president would address rallies in the family pocket boroughs of Amethi and Raebareli, but the plans were shelved. Instead, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi stepped in for her.

Taxed enough

“We have taxed her enough, particularly in the last three years,” a senior Congress leader said, when asked about Congress president’s campaign plans. Tentative plans were drawn up for Sonia Gandhi’s rally in Raebareli to be held last Sunday —but they were finally shelved. Congress managers said the party president was unwell.

Asked about Sonia’s absence from the campaign trail, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “Congress is working as a well-knit machine under her leadership... vice president Rahul Gandhi is campaigning actively across all states... where is the issue?” he told reporters.

Singhvi also said that ‘generational shifts’ were happening in the Congress under the party president’s directives and leadership, and speculation about her ‘absence’ from the election campaign was ‘unfounded.’

Party leaders admitted that the injury suffered by Sonia in an accident during the
well-received road show in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’sparliamentary constituency of Varanasi on August 2, 2016 had taken a toll on her health.

Besides, the focus of the party is now on Rahul Gandhi,  who is expected to be elevated as party president after the Assembly elections.

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