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Rahul Gandhi (Hindi: राहुल गांधी ; born 19 June 1970) is an Indian politician and member of the parliament of India, representing the Amethi constituency. His political party is the Indian National Congress.

Early life and career

Rahul Gandhi was born in Delhi on 19 June 1970 as the first of the two children of Rajiv Gandhi, who later became the Prime Minister of India and Sonia Gandhi, who later became President of Indian National Congress, and as the grandson of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He is also the great-grandson of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Priyanka Vadra is his younger sister. His mother, Sonia Gandhi, is originally from Turin, Italy; his parents met in Cambridge, England where she was a student at Bell Educational Trust's language school and he, an engineering student at Trinity College. They married in New Delhi in 1968. Rajiv Gandhi later obtained a commercial pilot's license and was a pilot in Indian Airlines when Rahul was born.

Rahul Gandhi attended St. Columba's School, Delhi before entering The Doon School in Dehradun (Uttarakhand), also his father's alma mater, from 1981–83. Meanwhile, his father had joined politics and became the Prime Minister on October 31, 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Due to the security threats faced by Indira Gandhi's family from Sikh extremists, Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka were home-schooled since then. Rahul Gandhi joined St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1989 for his undergraduate education but moved to Harvard University after he completed the first year examinations.[ In 1991, after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE during an election rally, he shifted to Rollins College due to security concerns and completed his B.A. in 1994. During this period, he assumed the pseudonym Raul Vinci and his identity was known only to the university officials and security agencies.[ He further went on to obtain a M.Phil from Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1995. After graduation, Rahul Gandhi worked at the Monitor Group, a management consulting firm, in London. In 2002 he was one of the directors of Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm Backops Services Private Ltd.

Political career

In 2003, there was widespread media speculation on the issue of Rahul Gandhi's imminent entry into active politics, which he did not confirm. Sonia Gandhi, his mother, had joined politics in 1997 after staying away for years despite the demands by Congress party and had become the president of Indian National Congress. In 1999 General Elections, he appeared with his mother at public events and Congress meetings. He also traveled to Pakistan on a goodwill visit to watch the first cricket series between the countries in 14 years in a One Day International with his sister Priyanka Gandhi.

Speculation heightened in January 2004 about his and his sister's possible entry into politics when they visited their father's former constituency of Amethi, which their mother held at the time. He refused to give a definitive response, stating "I am not averse to politics. I have not decided when I will enter politics and indeed, if I ever will."


In March 2004, he announced his entry into politics by announcing that he would contest the May 2004 elections, standing for his father's former constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament. Before that, his uncle Sanjay held the seat before his death in a plane crash. The seat had been held by his mother until she transferred to the neighbouring seat of Rae Bareilly. The Congress had been doing poorly in Uttar Pradesh, holding only 10 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state at the time. At the time, this move generated surprise among political commentators, who had regarded his sister Priyanka as being the more charismatic and likely to succeed. Party officials did not have a curriculum vitae ready for the media, such was the surprise of his move. It generated speculation that the presence of a young member of India's most famous political family would reinvigorate the Congress party's political fortunes among India's youthful population In his first interview with foreign media, he portrayed himself as a uniter of the country and condemned "divisive" politics in India, saying that he would try to reduce caste and religious tensions. His candidature was greeted with excitement by locals, who had a long standing affinity with the family's presence in the area., Politician of Indian National Congress He won with a landslide majority, retaining the family stronghold with a margin of over 100,000 as the Congress unexpectedly defeated the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Until 2006 he held no other office and concentrated mainly on constituency issues and the politics of Uttar Pradesh, and it was widely speculated in the Indian and international press that Sonia Gandhi is trying to groom him for a chance to become a national-level Congress leader in the future.

In January 2006, at a convention of the Indian National Congress in Hyderabad, thousands of party members asked for Gandhi to take a more prominent leadership role in the party and demanded that he address the delegates. He said "I appreciate and I am grateful for your feelings and support. I assure you I will not let you down", but asked for patience and declined to immediately seek a higher profile role.

Gandhi and his sister (married to Robert Vadhera) managed their mother's campaign for reelection to Rae Bareilly in 2006, which was won easily with a margin greater than 400,000 votes.

He was a prominent figure in a high profile Congress campaign for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections; Congress, however, won only 22 seats with 8.53% of votes. The election saw the Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents low caste Indians, to become the first party to govern in its own right in Uttar Pradesh in 16 years.

Rahul Gandhi was appointed a general secretary of the All India Congress Committee on 24 September 2007 in a reshuffle of the party secretariat. In the same reshuffle, he was also given charge of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India.

In 2008, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily mentioned “Rahul-as-PM” idea when the PM of India Manmohan Singh was still abroad. Indian Politicians drew own conclusions. Evidently, the Prime Minister also took notice of it.

Youth politics

In his attempt to prove himself as a youth leader in November 2008 he held interviews at his 12, Tughlak Lane residence in New Delhi to handpick at least 40 people who will make up the think-tank of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), an organisation that he has been keen to transform since he was appointed general secretary in September 2007.

Under Rahul Gandhi, IYC and NSUI has seen a dramatic increase in members from a few hundred thousand to several million.

Rahul Gandhi participated in an interactive session with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. The University student unions have been traditionally dominated by the Left. His party, INC, however, was quick to play up Rahul's visit to JNU as an “excellent example of youth participation in politics”. Rahul's grandmother, Indira Gandhi had to face huge opposition from Left student unions during her visit to the university campus in 1982 because of her decision to impose emergency. Rahul was quizzed by the students on issues ranging from hiearchial politics in India, to his visits to Dalit Houses, economic growth in the country and education reforms. Some papers, however, reported Rahul's visit to JNU as a political attempt to strengthen the newly constituted unit of NSUI at JNU.

In various reports it has been proved that Rahul Gandhi has failed in his promise to eliminate family, patronage, money from Youth Congress. It has been seen that an aspiring delegates need to pay a substantial sum as nomination fee. Hence, an aspiring office-bearer with deep pockets sponsors them thereby allowing money power to have a role in the elections.

2009 elections

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he retained his Amethi constituency by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 333,000 votes. In these elections congress is said to have revived itself in Uttar Pradesh by winning 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats and the majority of the credit for this turnaround is given to Rahul Gandhi. He spoke at 125 rallies across the country in six weeks.

Land Acquisition Protests Arrest

On 11 May 2011 Rahul Gandhi was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police at Bhatta Parsaul village after he turned out in support of agitating farmers demanding more compensation for their land being acquired for a highway project. He was released after being held for about three hours and later returned to New Delhi. He was to be presented before a Sub-Divisional Magistrate on 12 May 2011.

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