Will wrest Amethi: BJP's big message to Rahul Gandhi
Will wrest Amethi: BJPâs big message to Rahul GandhiBy Aman Sharma, ET Bureau|Updated: Oct 10, 2017, 11.53 PM IST NEW DELHI: Amethi is winnable â" this is BJPâs big message to its workers and supporters in the Nehru-Gandhi family bastion, according to se nior state leaders, with party president Amit Shah having visited the constituency twice and Smriti Irani thrice in the past eight months.
âRahul Gandhi had not been to Amethi for the last eight months. He hurriedly came on a three-day tour earlier this month amid festivals after our party president finalised his tour,â a senior state BJP leader told ET. âGandhi knew Amethiâs people were angry with him and BJP would exploit this. Amethi ab BJP ke liye ajay nahin hai (Amethi is no longer unwinnable for BJP).â
BJPâs larger strategy seems to be to limit the Congress scion, and likely PM candidate, to his constituency in the run-up to the 2019 general election. âIn 2014, for the first time, Rahul was present in Amethi on polling day. He had to work harder then. But even so the result showed his votes had come down drastically. The victory margin was reduced. This was the first opportunity when we weakened Rahul in his seat,â said another state BJP leader. In the assembly election held earlier this year, BJP won four of the five seats here for the first time. âThis included shedding the Sanjay Singh legacy and winning the Amethi assembly seat by pitching the queen, Garima Singh, who won it for BJP. That was a strong and emotional message by BJP which has far-reaching consequences,â the leader said.
Sanjay Singh had won the Amethi seat for BJP in 1998, the only occasion when the party won it, but that was seen more a win for Singh. âWe have full confidence that we will not let Rahul become MP from Amethi in 2019. Hence our focus on Amethi. Our activity there is more; understandably Rahul too will have to increase his activity there and devote more time to campaigning in Amethi for the 2019 polls,â a senior BJP leader said, when asked whether the strategy was to limit Gandhi to Amethi in the next election. BJP is focusing on booth committees and management, increased number of programmes, visits by central leaders and a special in charge for Amethi, the leader said. âWe are doing this for all seats we lost in 2014 elections. But the focus in UP is mainly on Amethi, Rae Bareli, Azamgarh and Mainpuri, which have been held by the Gandhi and Yadav family for long. We aim to win them all,â the leader said.
Although Irani repeatedly said her candidature from Amethi in 2019 is the call of the party, she seems the most likely contestant given the fight she put up and her efforts in Amethi subsequently.
âEven after losing, Irani has visited Amethi more than Rahul. A new 200-bed hospital, double lining of the railway track, dropping a rack in Amethi for farmers... a definite strategy has been adopted to win over the electorate.
On Tuesday, Shah raised similar points in Amethi in presence of the CM and Smriti Irani. Read more onSmriti IraniRahul GandhiRae BareliBJPAzamgarhAmit Shah
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