Has Rahul really lost his stronghold in Amethi?Top Stories

May 08, 2014 11:59
Has Rahul really lost his stronghold in Amethi?},{Has Rahul really lost his stronghold in Amethi?

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Amethi and not Varanasi is fast turning out to be the most hotly contested constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha Polls. As Congress, AAP and BJP crossed swords on May 7, the anti-Congress buzz was evident. And while there aren't ground reports or pre-poll surveys to testify to that, the Opposition has  managed to drum up a considerable noise asserting that Rahul Gandhi is fast losing his stronghold in the Congress bastion of Amethi.

A sense of panic was equally palpable in Rahul Gandhi who, for the first time ever, spent the poll day in Amethi. In the past, Rahul had never taken any effort to be present in the constituency on a voting day. However, this year was different.

Rahul not only ensured that he stayed in Amethi during the poll, but also made his presence palpable inside the polling booth — something that didn't go down too well with the opposition who lost no time in accusing Gandhi scion of trying to woo votes by distracting the voters.

Jumping to his defense, Congress minister Shashi Tharoor explained, "Of course, he was not trying to influence a voter. The the last two elections, Amethi went to polls quite early in the schedule. So Rahul was busy campaigning for the party in other constituencies and couldn't be in Amethi. This time, the polls happened there in the penultimate leg and he could afford to be in his constituency."

However, the BJP weren't the one to fall for it. Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman hinted that Smriti Irani's candidature has given the Congress jitters, which forced Rahul to run to his constituency on polling day. "The Congress has realized that no seat is safe enough for the Congress and Smriti Irani is giving Rahul Gandhi a fight to the finish," said Sitharaman.

Rahul, who clinched the Amethi seat in 2009 by a whopping 3,70,000 votes, might have reasons to feel scared, claims Aam Aadmi Party's Somnath Bharti. Despite Congress' clout and BJP glitzy campaign, AAP has managed to make inroads into the constituency. Their door-to-door campaign in Amethi has encouraged people to speak up. Hitherto, people in Amethi never dared to question the Gandhis. Now they do.

While the opponents have accused Congress of developing late jitters, the other parties in the fray seem to be equally nervy about Amethi, claims the Congress. Tharoor has accused BJP Smriti Irani of trying to overawe voters in Amethi booths. "She parked three cars with BJP cadre near the booths and tried to intimidate voters. The voters only came and told us. Priyanka Gandhi's PA had entered the premises only to complain about her actions," Tharoor said, explaining the altercation between Irani and Priyanka's PA Preeti Sahay.

While BJP's Sitharaman didn't clarify Irani's presence in a particular polling booth for over an hour with her entourage, she snapped back at Tharoor accusing Congress of sending an unauthorized representative to the booth. She pointed out that Rahul's presence in the booth was equally questionable.

Tharoor defended Gandhi saying that the EC doesn't stop a candidate from being inside the booth as long as he doesn't carry a party symbol and doesn't talk about the polls with a voter. Rahul did none.

While Shashi Tharoor stressed that the Gandhis have brought enough 'central assistance' to Amethi, the Opposition  shot back saying that Amethi's education, health and transport infrastructure is crumbling.

"One has to understand the MP is not a super MLA. There are certain things that a state government has to do. And in case of an unfriendly state government, it become very difficult. However, we have to admit that Rahul Gandhi has not been able to pay much attention to Amethi owning to his other responsibilities," Tharoor said.

"The state's governing party (SP) gives outside support to the party. How much friendlier can this get?" retorted Sitharaman.

With Smriti Irani, Kumar Vishwas and Rahul Gandhi leaving little to their destiny in this elections, we are waiting to see who will have the last laugh in Amethi.

AW: Suchorita Choudhury




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