Dipping temperatures have made the weather cold but Amethi, this week, was much colder to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Uncomfortable questions from the people, clashes between party workers and a rather cold shoulder in some villages was certainly not what the Congress scion had expected on Christmas Eve from the constituency, which had been a family bastion since the past three and a half decades.
In Salon block, while Rahul Gandhi was addressing a meeting, Congress workers clashed between themselves over parking of vehicles. The party workers were unconcerned about the presence of their vice president and continued to battle among themselves.
In Bahadurpur, villagers complained about the poor state of drains and lack of potable drinking water. There were sneers when Rahul Gandhi told them that the village pradhan was responsible for this.
“Then why do you come here for votes?” asked a young man. Gandhi then went around inspecting the village and also looking for the village head, who was not available. The village head owes allegiance to the Samajwadi Party.
Rahul Gandhi also convened a meeting of the newly elected pradhans and the majority of them did not turn up. Finally, the Congress vice-president curtailed his visit by a few hours and returned to Delhi.
“Rahul Gandhi needs to stop taking Amethi for granted. He cannot always blame the state government and the Centre for the lack of development. During the UPA regime, he kept blaming the state government and now it is the Centre. We would like to know that if the state governments have been stalling development in his constituency since the past one decade, then why is the Congress continuing to support SP and BSP?”asked Pirthi Pal, a school teacher from Jamoh.
The people of Amethi are slowly but surely losing an emotional connect with Rahul Gandhi and this could prove dangerous for the Congress scion in the coming elections because, in contrast, Smriti Irani is definitely warming up to Amethi.
“We had an emotional connect with the late Rajiv Gandhi because he always helped us — especially those who were deprived or ailing. Whenever he came here, he made it a point to enquire about those who had sought his help. He always remembered names and would ask if someone he knew did not turn up. With Rahul Gandhi, things are not working because he simply hands over applications to his aides and then all is forgotten.
Ask him if he remembers who gave him an application on his last visit or sought his help and we can bet that he will draw a blank,” said a veteran Congress leader in Amethi who did not wish to be named.
“Whether it is Amethi or Uttar Pradesh or the rest of India, Rahul Gandhi does not realise that real politics is different from ideology and one needs to strike a balance between the two. He follows his ideology to the hilt but cannot understand the ground realities. He is unwilling to accept advice and is apprehensive that everyone is misleading him. Even in Amethi, he refuses to open his doors for the people and prefers to let his aides do the work,” said a senior party leader.