The Bharatiya Janata Party is working hard on its plan to give Rahul Gandhi a tough fight in Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. As part of this plan, party president Amit Shah will visit the constituency next week, which is currently held by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. According to a UP BJP leader, Shah will visit Amethi on Tuesday, shortly ahead of the state executive meeting, which is to be held in Kanpur on 11-12 October. As reported by this newspaper, the strategy of wresting Amethi and Rae Bareli, held by Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively, is part of the BJP’s larger plan of a “Congress-mukt Bharat”.
Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi also visited Amethi this week. It was his first visit to Amethi since the UP Assembly elections. BJP leaders claim his visit was an effort to revive his losing clout in Amethi, where Smriti Irani had given him a tough fight in 2014. The BJP’s confidence in Amethi stems from the spectacular rise in its vote percentage in Amethi and Rae Bareli from 2009 to 2014—from 6% to 34% in Amethi, and 4% to 21% in Rae Bareli. The party believes that it can win the Amethi seat if it puts in some effort. The BJP is focusing on primarily Amethi, more than Rae Bareli. Shah, during his visit will address a public rally, which will be attended by Union minister Smriti Irani, who has been picked by the party to target Rahul Gandhi.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is also likely to accompany them. A number of development programmes are likely to be inaugurated. The three leaders will address a public meeting on the premises of Samrat Cycle. The venue is significant as Irani had created a stir in 2015 by accusing the Congress leadership of usurping about 65 acres of land acquired from the farmers in the name of setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat Cycle, a project which never materialised. The Congress had filed a defamation suit against Irani. According to the BJP leader, Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Amethi just before Amit Shah’s proposed visit is a desperate attempt to save his political constituency. “Rahul Gandhi comes to Amethi only as a political tourist. His visit to Amethi just before Amit Shah’s visit proves that he is feeling shaky in his own constituency.
On the other hand, Smriti Irani has been visiting the area consistently, taking stock of the development works and communicating with the people there. As a result, the people of Amethi have made up their mind to go for the BJP in the next elections,” he said.