The people of Amethi want Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election from there, the party’s Uttar Pradesh chief Ajay Rai said on Saturday, according to ANI.

In 2019, Gandhi had lost the Lok Sabha election from Amethi, traditionally a bastion of his family, to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani. However, he was elected to Parliament from Kerala’s Wayanad constituency.

Gandhi had earlier won the Amethi seat thrice in 2004, 2009 and 2014. Before that, his mother Sonia Gandhi, father Rajiv Gandhi and uncle Sanjay Gandhi had also represented the constituency.

Rai on Saturday said that the people of Amethi consider Rahul Gandhi as a family member. “As the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, I can say that the people of Amethi are demanding that Rahul Gandhi should contest from there,” he said. “The Congress workers will make up for any deficiencies that were left last time and send him to Parliament with an overwhelming majority.”

However, Rai said that Gandhi and the Congress’ national leadership will decide on whether to field him from the seat.

On Friday, however, the state Congress chief had said: “Rahul Gandhi will certainly contest the elections from Amethi. If [Congress General Secretary] Priyanka Gandhi wants to contest from Varanasi, party workers will spare no effort towards this.”

Rai on Saturday said that it was during the tenures of Rahul Gandhi and other members of his family that an aviation school, hospitals and factories were set up in Amethi.

“Smriti Irani had told people that if they would vote for the BJP, she would ensure that they could buy sugar at Rs 13 a kilogram,” he said, according to ANI. “The people of Amethi are still searching for this sugar...The citizens of the constituency have always supported honest people.”