"Kishori Bhaiya...": Priyanka Gandhi Congratulates Amethi Giant-Slayer

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who did not contest the Lok Sabha election, led the party's campaign in Amethi and Raebareli

'Kishori Bhaiya...': Priyanka Gandhi Congratulates Amethi Giant-Slayer

Priyanka Gandhi shared a throwback pic with KL Sharma as he inched towards a win

New Delhi:

As counting day trends in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, among the most watched seats in the country, pointed to a Congress victory, senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared a throwback picture with the Congress's Amethi candidate and Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma. Seven hours into the counting, Mr Sharma is emerging as a giant-slayer with a lead of nearly 1 lakh votes over BJP's Smriti Irani.

Ms Gandhi Vadra, who did not contest the Lok Sabha election, had led the party's campaign in Amethi and Raebareli, prestige seats which members of the Gandhi family have represented in the past. In Rae Bareli, her brother and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is leading against the BJP's Dinesh Pratap Singh by nearly 3 lakh votes.

In a post that accompanied the throwback pic, Ms Gandhi Vadra wrote, "Kishori bhaiya, I never doubted, I believed from the beginning that you will win. Many congratulations to you and my brothers and sisters from Amethi."

Mr Sharma has sprung a surprise after he was considered an underdog against Union Minister Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi last time. After the Congress announced Mr Sharma as its candidate in the family stronghold, the BJP had claimed that the Gandhis were scared to contest in Amethi after Ms Irani's win last time. Explaining its choice, the Congress had said Mr Sharma has worked as MP's representative in Amethi and Raebareli for decades and knows the pulse of the people in the area.

Mr Sharma spoke to NDTV on the campaign trail. He has earlier been part of the Congress's campaigns in Amethi and Raebareli. "I am the same as before. This time, the leadership has given me a different role and I am working accordingly," he had said.

Some BJP leaders had referred to him as a "proxy candidate", with BJP's Dinesh Pratap Singj going so far to call Mr Sharma Rahul Gandhi's "chaprasi" (peon). Asked about this remark, Mr Sharma had told NDTV, "These are their values, my father was illiterate, but he taught me good values. I don't want to comment on this."

In the run-up to the election, Ms Gandhi Vadra had camped in Amethi and Raebareli, holding nukkad sabhas and public interactions to seek support for Mr Sharma. If the numbers hold, her efforts have paid off.