By Prerna Mukherjee
The saffron party fielded three of its top leaders in Amethi, the political bastion of the Gandhi family. Addressing a public meeting in Amethi, the BJP chief said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adiyanath will ensure all-round development of Amethi like rest of the state.
Taking over the reins
At a mega rally organised by BJP, the party president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Smriti Irani took turns to criticise Congress and praise BJP governance. Adding to the rally, they further laid down the foundation for 21 new developmental projects in Amethi.
BJP, which rules both at the Centre and in UP, is signalling false accusations by Rahul Gandhi of “step-motherly treatment” to Amethi. To stress the point, a senior local leader of Congress, Jang Bahadur Singh, joined the BJP on Monday, just a day ahead of the party chief’s visit. He accused Gandhi of neglecting the development of Amethi, his constituency for the past 13 years.
Amethi was one of only two parliament seats of UP’s 80 that Congress could win in 2014. The other was neighbouring Rae Bareli, also a Gandhi family stronghold, where Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi contested and won. BJP had won 71 seats and hopes to wrest the two Congress seats too in the next national election in 2019.
Amethi also witnessed a high-pitched electoral battle between Rahul Gandhi and Smriti Irani in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Though Irani lost the election, she managed to reduce his victory margin from around 3.70 lakh in 2009 to 1.07 lakh in 2014. In the 2017 UP Assembly election, BJP won six of the 10 Assembly seats falling under the parliamentary constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli. Four of which were in Amethi.
Accusations versus work
During his visit on 5 October, Rahul Gandhi had accused BJP governments at the Centre and in UP of re-inaugurating the projects launched by the previous UPA regime in the district. Gandhi had asked Modi to address the unemployment problem and farmers’ issues. He dared him to allow Congress to resolve the problems in six months.
In the wake of the election campaign, BJP also addressed a public meeting in Gauriganj to lay foundation stones. They inaugurated an FM radio station, Sainik School, Amethi district headquarters and civil court building, skill training colleges and other railway and road projects.
Through his mega rally, Amit Shah aims to send a clear message that the current regime believed in the all-round development of the state.