Smriti Irani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh by over 2500 votes as of 11.05 am.
Irani is giving Rahul Gandhi a tough fight.
This is the second time that the Union Minister is contesting from Amethi, which has been a Gandhi family bastion for four decades.
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In 2014, Irani put up a credible fight, reducing Rahul Gandhi’s margin of victory from 3.70 lakh votes in 2009 to 1.07 lakh votes. His vote share was reduced to 46.71% from 66% in 2004, which was the first time that the Congress President had contested from Amethi. The BJP’s vote share shot up to 34.48%.
Under the Modi government, Irani headed the HRD Ministry and then the Textiles Ministry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who campaigned for Irani in 2014, did not hold a rally in Amethi in this election. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, however, campaigned in Amethi.
Irani, who has mounted a vigorous campaign in 2019, has accused Rahul Gandhi of not spending enough time in Amethi. She recently called him a “missing MP” and a “missing candidate.”
The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party (SP-BSP) alliance have not fielded a candidate in Amethi.
On 6 May, the day that Amethi voted, Irani accused Congress workers of booth capturing. The Election Commission dismissed her allegation.
Over the course of her tenure, Irani has been dogged by a controversy over her educational qualifications. In this election, a local Congress leader in Amethi lodged a complaint with the EC accusing Irani of submitting wrong information about her educational qualifications in her affidavit.
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