Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said “it feels like coming home” when he visited his former parliamentary constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. This was Gandhi’s first visit after he lost the family bastion Amethi to Union minister Smriti Irani by more than 52,000 votes in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

“I feel very happy after coming to Amethi,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “It feels like coming home.”

He attributed his loss in Amethi to local leaders staying away from the people and assured that he will not abandon the constituency, PTI reported. Several Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee resigned after taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. His representative Chandrakant Dubey and District President Yogendra Mishra had also resigned. The Congress managed to win just one parliamentary seat in the state, that of United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli.

“I will not leave Amethi,” former state Youth Congress Chief Nadeem Ashraf Jayasi quoted Gandhi as saying at a meeting. “It is my home and family.” BJP MP Smriti Irani had repeatedly accused Gandhi of ignoring the constituency in the run up to the elections.

“The development of Amethi will not be hampered,” Gandhi reportedly told party workers. “I am the MP from Wayanad but my ties with Amethi are three decades old. I will fight for Amethi in Delhi.”

Amethi has been a Congress party stronghold since its formation as a Lok Sabha constituency in 1967 election. This is from where Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi fought their first Lok Sabha battles.

Gandhi went to Gauriganj in Amethi and visited the house of his party’s Tiloi Assembly in charge Mata Prasad Vaish, whose relative died on June 25, and conveyed condolences to the aggrieved family. Later, he attended a review meeting with party office-bearers and leaders.

He also met Congress representatives, including booth presidents of five Assembly segments –
Salon, Amethi, Gauriganj, Jagdishpur and Tiloi.