New Delhi: When the Kerala unit of Congress asked party chief Rahul Gandhi to contest Lok Sabha elections from there instead of his traditional constituency of Amethi, little did they know what a storm it would kick up. Soon after, the Amethi unit of the Congress welcomed the offer.

Union minister Smriti Irani, quick on the uptake, had a field day on Twitter as soon as she learnt of the development. Posting a note reportedly from the Congress’ Amethi unit, she tweeted how Rahul was being cast away by Amethi. Taking a jibe at the Mahagathbandhan attempts by the grand old party, she said the grand old party also pretended to be in talks with everyone.

However, she said, the public had rejected the Congress so ‘Rahul ji’ should vacate the throne as the ‘janta’ would have its way.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Smriti had challenged Rahul in his Amethi bastion. However, Rahul managed to defeat her by a margin of over one lakh votes in the last Lok Sabha polls. His victory was far less impressive than in most of the earlier Lok Sabha elections in Amethi.

The Congress’ vote share was reduced to 46 per cent in 2014 as against its earlier shares of 71 and 66 per cent in the 2009 and 2004 elections, respectively. Meanwhile the BJP, whose vote share in Amethi remained in the single digits in 2004, garnered 37 per cent of the votes cast in 2014.