Smriti Irani at the time of writing was trailing Rahul Gandhi with almost 2,35,000 votes to Rahul’s 3,18,000 and above votes. She had already accepted defeat with the foregone conclusion.
Let us face it – Amethi is the INC bastion. If all else is lost, Amethi will still be Congressi. With the only exceptions of Ravindra Pratap SIngh (1977-80 – Janata Party) and Sanjay Singh (1998-99 – BJP), the people of Amethi have always voted INC. Congress legend has it that erstwhile Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, the INC candidate’s father, who had remained unbeaten at Amethi between 1981 and 1991 referred to the constituency as his home. And his mother Indira Gandhi was called Amethi’s daughter despite never having been a candidate here. It was a forgone conclusion then, that BJP’s candidate, Ms. Smriti Irani was being asked to fight a foregone battle.
Fielding Ms. Irani has been an unquestioned bout of theatrics on the part of BJP. No seriously, they wanted a very well-known face, someone who could be vocal and clearly hear (even if no one quite believed what she was saying), and someone popular despite the apparent lack of political acumen. Ms. Irani fit the bill perfectly. Her recall as the docile daughter-in-law of the Hindi soap Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is much higher than that of her political sojourn. Ms. Irani’s speeches were fiery and yet they lack the ability to convince – a shortcoming that any non-Congress candidate from Amethi might suffer from.
Ms. Irani, no doubt managed to fight a great battle and keep the focus firmly on her constituency. From calling Amethi underdeveloped to complaining about Ms. Priyanka Vadhera’s PA and protesting her presence in the polling booths to campaigning alongside NaMo in Amethi, Ms. Irani has never failed to provide us a newsbyte. But with neither the idealistic agenda of AAP, nor the decades-long legacy of the INC, Ms. Irani’s victory was never really an anticipated outcome. What did remain a question, though, is how many constituents would sway to the saffron winds? And in that regard, the actress-turned-politician has done marvelously well.