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Smriti Irani: Amethi Giant Slayer- Meet the Gandhi loyalist Kishori Lal Shar...

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Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 10:14:28 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 10:14:28

Sharma is a longtime aide of the Gandhis; he has worked closely with the family from the time of Rajiv Gandhi. Soft-spoken, he earned a reputation in the party for his election management. Smriti Irani


The soft-spoken leader who knows Amethi ‘very well’

Sharma is a longtime aide of the Gandhis; he has worked closely with the family from the time of Rajiv Gandhi. Soft-spoken, he earned a reputation in the party for his election management.

For years, he has worked behind the scenes. In both Amethi and Rae Bareli, he has managed the party’s election strategy. However, this is the first time he has contested a poll and the results are for all the see.

The 63-year-old has spent decades mediating between the Gandhi family and the voters, understanding the ground realities and challenges. He told The Indian Express after his nomination was announced that he had served in the region for 40 years and knows Amethi “very well”.

Also read: Lok Sabha election results 2024: What worked in favour of the INDI Alliance in UP? What led to BJP’s upset?

A Gandhi loyalist

Sharma is originally from Punjab’s Ludhiana. He came to Amethi in 1983 and worked for Rajiv Gandhi as a representative of the Youth Congress. He has been working in the state since. “Except 1981, I managed all of Rajiv ji’s remaining elections,” he told The Indian Express.

After Rajiv Gandhi died in 1991, Sharma’s bond with the family only grew stronger. He started working for the former prime minister’s widow, Sonia Gandhi and played a big role in the Congress’ electoral victory in Rae Bareli.

Sonia took over the reins of the party in 1988 and fielded Satish Sharma, thus reviving the fortunes of the Grand Old Party in the constituency. He retook the seats for the Congress.But throughout all of his, KL Sharma worked closely with Sonia. He frequently travelled to Amethi and Rae Bareli.

In 1999, Sonia Gandhi contested from the Ballari seat in Karnataka. And Sharma played a key role in the first electoral victory. In elections that followed, Sonia contested from Rae Bareli. She first contested in 2004 and continued until 2019 and Rahul contested from Amethi. Sharma managed the affairs of the party in both these constituencies.

In 2014, Rahul wanted to hire his own team in Amethi. That is when Sharma put all his efforts behind Rae Bareli, a seat the Congress has managed to retain despite the Modi waves in 2014 and 2019. A source was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that Rahul’s big loss to Smriti Irani in the last Lok Sabha election could have something to do with the change.

Sharma then has been Congress’ main man in Amethi and Rae Bareli. And it was time he got his reward.

When this year, Congress decided to field him from Rae Bareli, Priyanka hailed the choice. “Our family has had long association with Kishorilal Sharma ji. He has always been dedicated to serving of Amethi and Rae Bareli,” she wrote on X.

किशोरी भैया, मुझे कभी कोई शक नहीं था, मुझे शुरू से यक़ीन था कि आप जीतोगे। आपको और अमेठी के मेरे प्यारे भाइयों और बहनों को हार्दिक बधाई ! pic.twitter.com/JzH5Gr3z30

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