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KL Sharma banks on his ties with Amethi voters

KL Sharma said that his job was to forward complaints received from people to the government and ensure that things were resolved…reports Asian Lite News

The selection of Kishori Lal Sharma as Congress candidate, pitted against Union minister Smriti Irani in Amethi has kicked up a storm of sorts in political circles with many claiming that the Congress has already conceded defeat.

Sharma, however, is unfazed.

“I have been working as a coordinator in Amethi and Raebareli since 1983. My relationship with the local people spans over four decades. I am honoured to be asked to contest the seat that belongs to the Gandhi family,” he said, talking to IANS.

Recalling his ties with Amethi, Sharma said, “It was Rajiv Gandhi who brought me to Amethi in 1983 as a Congress coordinator. He had launched a training programme for the Indian Youth Congress. I was one of the people selected for the training. My mentor and cousin Satpal Parashar, who became an MLA in 1984, had sent me for the training. Rajiv Gandhi taught me a lot during the training programme. I have also learnt humility from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.”

He said that his job was to forward complaints received from people to the government and ensure that things were resolved.

“At that time, we used to have Congress governments at the Centre and in the state as well. Rajiv Gandhi became an MP in 1981 and the Prime Minister in 1984. After Rajiv’s death in 1991, Captain Sharma also focused on the development of Amethi. He did his bit to set up the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology and bottling plants among other things. Later, people persuaded Sonia Gandhi to join active politics. She did so and worked hard to strengthen the Congress,” he said.

Talking about his candidature, Sharma said, “I am an ordinary soldier of the Gandhis. The Gandhi family is in the heart of people. I follow whatever they tell me. I will try to fulfil that role with complete honesty, whether the role is of a hero or any other. They asked me to serve the people. I try to ensure that no action of mine causes them harm.”

Asked how he planned to counter the BJP campaign, Sharma said, “No one can counter others. People counter their leaders after assessing their performance. Smriti Irani should tell what she has done for the constituency in the last five years. We will tell the people what we have done since 1982. It does not matter what she tells people about us or what we tell people about her. People will ultimately decide what has been done for them.”

Sharma vehemently denied that the people of Amethi had defeated Rahul Gandhi in 2019.

“There were many reasons for the Congress’ defeat in Amethi in 2019. The people of Amethi, however, were not the reason. The role of the government and the official machinery affected the people. There was some problem with our management of elections. We were not able to keep in touch with our workers at the grassroots level. Our monitoring was not effective,” he explained.

He further said that Amethi got many development projects because of Rahul Gandhi.

“We got national highways and industries. But when the Congress was voted out of power, the incumbent government indulged in vendetta against Amethi. Our schemes were either closed or not funded. The projects to set up a food park and paper mill were shelved. The IIIT campus was shut. Many spinning mills are lying closed,” he pointed out.

Kishori Lal Sharma belongs to Bhawanipur, a village in Himachal Pradesh. His family — wife and two daughters — are based in Ludhiana, Punjab.

“I have my own business. My father established a bakery 70 years ago. That bakery is still there. If I had not come here, I would have probably expanded my bakery business. I have spent 10 to 12 days every month here for the past 40 years. I do not draw any salary from the Congress,” he clarified.

Amethi goes to polls on May 20 in the fifth phase of elections.

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