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Rahul Gandhi: Can India's Congress leader unseat PM Modi?

India's main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was all but written off after his crushing defeat in the last elections. But he has energised a struggling Congress party and increasingly set the agenda with a combative campaign. The BBC's Geeta Pandey visits his constituency to assess whether he can unseat the prime minister this time.

The main roads in the small town of Amethi were choked with supporters when Rahul Gandhi turned up to file his nomination papers last week.

Mr Gandhi - smiling and waving on an open truck, accompanied by his sister Priyanka - was greeted all along the 3km route to the district collector's office by party workers. Many waved flags, others carried their photographs and town residents showered them with rose petals.

A man in a horse costume danced to drum beats, a brass band played welcoming tunes and groups of supporters ran alongside the convoy shouting slogans in his support.

"Mr Modi's days are numbered," says Mustaqim Ahmed, who has travelled 125km (78 miles) from his village with his 12-year-old son to see the Congress chief.

Anokhelal Tiwari, a resident of Amethi, adds: "Wait and see, once the votes are counted on 23 May, Mr Modi will known as the ex-prime minister of India. The Congress will form the next government and 'Rahul bhaiya [brother]' will become the prime minister."

It's a dream Mr Gandhi's supporters in Amethi have had for a long time. In fact, ever since he made his political debut 15 years ago.

The 48-year-old is a three-term MP from this town in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. He is now seeking a fourth term. This time though, he's also standing in Wayanad in the southern state of Kerala - leading to the BJP alleging he's scared of losing Amethi to their candidate Smriti Irani, who put up a tough fight in 2014. Congress leaders have defended the move, saying it will help widen their base in the south.

I followed Mr Gandhi's campaigns closely in 2004, 2009 and 2014 - and each time I was told by supporters they were electing the PM, not an MP. That sentiment is now being echoed in Wayanad too, says my BBC Hindi colleague Imran Qureshi, who's covering the election there.

That's because Rahul Gandhi has the right pedigree: he is the scion of India's political royalty.

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