Will not contest LS polls over health issues: Sonia

Former Congress prez sends emotional message to Rae Bareli voters; hints at kin contesting

NEW DELHI: Health and age issues have forced former Congress president Sonia Gandhi to keep off from contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

In an emotional message on Thursday, while informing voters of her Rae Bareli constituency in Uttar Pradesh, the 77-year-old leader also threw subtle hints of a possible entry of a member of her family from the segment.

Sonia Gandhi had has represented the segment since 2004.

“I am proud to say that whatever I am today, I am because of you and I have always done my best to honour your trust. Now on account of health and age issues, I will not contest the next Lok Sabha election,” she said in the message.

“After this decision, I will not have the opportunity to serve you directly but my heart and soul will always remain with you. I know that you will stand by me and my family in future, just as you have in the past,” she said in the message written in Hindi.

The message to the voters comes a day after the former Congress president filed her nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan.

This is the first time that Sonia Gandhi would be entering the Rajya Sabha. She will also be the second member of the Gandhi family to do so, after Indira Gandhi who was a member of the upper house from 1964 to 1967.

Speculation is rife that Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could contest from the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency this time.

Sending her respect to elders and love to youngsters, she said, “I will see you soon”.

Sonia Gandhi further said, “My family in Delhi is incomplete without you. It completes when I come to Rae Bareli and meet all of you. My ties with you are very old. I have inherited these ties as a good fortune from my in-laws.”

Noting that ties of her family with Rae Bareli are “very deep rooted”, she said Rae Bareli sent her father-in-law Feroze Gandhi to the Lok Sabha in the first general election held after Independence.

“After that, you accepted my mother-in-law Indira Gandhi,” she noted.

“Ever since, our relationship grew stronger on the difficult road to affection despite the highs and lows of life and our faith in this bond grew stronger. You allowed me space to walk along on this shining path. I came to you after losing my mother-in-law and husband and you accepted me with open arms,” the former Congress chief said.

“I can never forget your staunch support for me through the adverse circumstances through the last two Lok Sabha elections,” She recalled.

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