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Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK

World: South Asia

Sonia registers in Amethi

Sonia Gandhi with son Rahul registering at Amethi

By Ram Dutt Tripathi in Sultanpur

The President of India's main opposition Congress Party Sonia Gandhi has registered as a candidate for the northern Indian Parliamentary constituency in Amethi.

Indian Elections 99
Full results

This is the second seat which Mrs Gandhi is contesting to make her debut in the Indian parliament.

Mrs Gandhi was accompanied by her son Rahul Gandhi while filing her nomination papers in Amethi's district headquarters of Sultanpur.

Yesterday, her daughter Priyanka Vadra visited several places in Amethi making emotional requests to people to elect her mother.

Mrs Gandhi's cavalcade to the registration office this afternoon drew a huge crowd.

She told them that she was confident of winning election.

She promised to work for the development of the area which she said had been neglected after the death of her husband Rajiv Gandhi.

She also said she was not at all worried about questions being raised on her Italian birth.

Amethi parliamentary constituency has been won by the two scions of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty Rajiv and his brother Sanjay Gandhi many times in the past.

Congress party's supporters feel it is one of the most natural choice for Sonia Gandhi to seek election for the seat.

They say Mrs Gandhi had often accompanied her husband Rajiv on his election campaigns to Amethi and she knows the area well.

Ever since Rajiv's death, there were persistent demands by local Congress workers for Sonia to contest Amethi.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party has fielded former minister Sanjay Singh who defeated the Congress candidate Satish Sharma in the last elections.

Mr Singh says he is confident of winning the support of the local people because he hails from Amethi and is therefore a local resident.

Voting in Amethi is due to be held on the 3rd October.

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