During a roadshow in Amethi in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, newly-appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took a sarcastic jibe at Union minister Smriti Irani, who was fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for the second time in a row.
“Smriti...who?” was the curt response of Priyanka when a journalist asked about Irani contesting against her brother. Priyanka's refusal to acknowledge Irani's candidature in Amethi was stemmed from the fact that in 2014 elections Rahul had defeated Irani with a margin of more than one lakh votes.
However, as the results emerged on Thursday, the Congress president suffered what could be the biggest upset of this election. At the time of publishing this report, Irani was leading by a margin of more than 50,000 votes in Amethi, which has been a pocket borough of the Congress party ever since UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi won the constituency in 1999 against BJP's Sanjay Singh.
Since 2004, Rahul won the seat in three consecutive terms. However, this time around, he couldn't stop the Irani storm propelled by the Modi wave that swept the whole country.
As the counting of the polls is still on, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to retain power at the Centre with the National Democratic Alliance winning or leading in at least 340 seats.
Rahul Gandhi, who had also fielded himself in Kerala's Wayanad, however, won that seat by a margin of over four lakh votes.