New Delhi: Marking a historical win at Congress's stronghold, Smriti Irani clinched the ancestral throne of Amethi from the party president Rahul Gandhi.
Smriti is leading with approximately 30,300 votes and around 3,00,000 lakh votes are yet to be counted. Accepting the deafeat, however, Rahul in a media briefing bravely accepted his defeated.
''I congratulate her and would request her to take care of Amethi... I respect the decision of India,'' Rahul said.
Amethi has been an undisputed territory of the Gandhi family for the last three decades, except in 1998 when it lost to BJP's Sanjay Singh.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been winning the constituency since 2004.
Rahul Gandhi is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, where he has been leading since morning.
Amethi, a dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, features one of the most watched battles in this national election. A historical stronghold of the Congress, it is now slowly tipping the scales in the other direction.
Smriti Irani, capitalizing on Rahul’s absence, campaigned aggressively in Amethi, where she had contested and lost to Rahul Gandhi in 2014 but had managed to reduce his winning margin to one lakh. She kept visiting the constituency regularly and launched central schemes there to rally support for the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi, his party's chief campaigner across India, was accused by the BJP of neglecting his own constituency.
At the height of the election campaign, the Congress president visited Amethi only once, when he held a roadshow before filing his nomination papers. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned in Amethi and her mother Sonia Gandhi's Raebareli and visited the constituencies several times.
Rahul Gandhi's struggle was telling in his traditional seat, a Congress stronghold that has remained with the Gandhi family for decades.
The Congress has not lost the seat in the last three decades, except in 1998....