The Budget Session of the Parliament came into effect from Monday (January 31, 2022). Heavyweight politicians, cutting across parties, reached the Parliament to attend the joint sitting addressed by President Ram Nath Kovind.
In a tweet, ANI wrote, “Members of Parliament, including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister Smriti Irani, at the Parliament on the first day of the #BudgetSession2022.” Meanwhile, a picture posted by the news agency became the highlight of the day.
Congress scion Rahul Gandhi and BJP Minister Smriti Irani were seen exchanging glances at the footsteps of the entry gates to the House. Although the two were surrounded by other Parliamentarians, the picture became a moment of ‘political reckoning.’
— ANI (@ANI) January 31, 2022
Netizens claimed that the BJP leader Smriti Irani looked like was taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi for the latter’s humiliating defeat against her in his family bastion of Amethi. “Amethi yaad hai na Rahul ji !! Yes I was the one to set a perfect example of Ladki Hoon Lad Sakti Hoon for you. Hail to #smritiirani Ji #womenempowerment,” wrote Twitter user Vandana Gupta.
— Vandana Gupta 🇮🇳 (@im_vandy) January 31, 2022
Popular Twitter user Shefali Vaidya tweeted, “What an image! The past and present of Amethi. Smriti Irani, did the fake ‘sacred thread’ holder try to vanish you?”
— Shefali Vaidya. 🇮🇳 (@ShefVaidya) January 31, 2022
“I see fear in RaGa’s eyes … the humiliating drubbing of Amethi still rankles. Smriti Irani ji appears to look through him nonchalantly,” wrote one Sameer.
— Sameer (@BesuraTaansane) January 31, 2022
Twitter user Vishal drew parallels between the two political figures. While he hailed Smriti Irani as the ‘people’s choice from Amethi’, he dubbed the Congress scion as the ‘trash from Amethi.’ He added, “Smriti Irani ma’am facilitated his one-way ticket from Amethi to Wayanad.”
— ViSHaL 🇮🇳 (@vishal_z3) January 31, 2022
Another Twitter user commented that Rahul Gandhi mistook Smriti Irani as a ‘weak’ character from the TV Show ‘Kyuki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi‘. “She has proved to be the lioness who ousted him (Rahul Gandhi) from Amethi,” the user wrote.
— Aditya (@Fauladi_Adi) January 31, 2022
In the history of Indian elections, Amethi has been the ‘safe’ seat for the Gandhi family and the Congress party. Since the 1960s, it has always been won by a Congress candidate, except on two brief occasions. It has been the constituency that sent Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and even Rahul Gandhi to the Parliament.
But on May 23, 2019, BJP leader Smriti Irani breached the Gandhi bastion of Amethi by a margin of 55,000 votes. She had received a total of 4,68,514 votes while Rahul Gandhi managed to get 4,13,394 votes.
Rahul Gandhi had contested from Amethi since 2004 and has always won comfortably. He never faced any stiff competition in Amethi except in 2014 from BJP’s Smriti Irani. The Congress scion got close to 4 lakh votes in every election but in 2014, his vote percentage fell sharply to 46%.
It was clear to him that he might lose the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi. As such, he contested from a Muslim majority ‘safe seat’ of Wayanad in Kerala to make it into the Lower House of the Parliament. While netizens have been poking fun over a picture, only the Congress scion knows the impact that the humiliating loss at Amethi had on the party’s fate.