LUCKNOW: On Friday, Amethi might witness a face-off between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani as both are reportedly visiting the constituency on the same day.
It will be Rahul’s first visit to the constituency after winning the three crucial states in the Hindi heartland.
The Congress chief is expected to be in Amethi for two days — January 4 and 5 — to attend many programmes. Irani, on the other hand, will be participating in a blanket distribution programme organised by Raghavram Sewa Sansthan on January 4.
Local leaders of both the Congress and the BJP confirmed the Amethi plans of their respective leaders. While both the parties are gearing up for the high-profile visits, the district administration is in a tizzy to avert any possible showdown between the workers of both the parties.
Irani had contested elections from Amethi in 2014 and had considerably shrunk the victory margin of the Congress scion. While in 2009, Rahul Gandhi had trounced his nearest rival Ashish Shukla of the BSP by an impressive margin of over 3 lakh votes.
In 2014, BJP pitched in Irani against Rahul. Irani put up a strong fight and managed to shrink Rahul’s victory margin by around 2 lakh votes. She lost it by a margin of just one lakh votes. However, since then, Irani has been active in Amethi and making inroads into the Congress bastion by nurturing it with strong development push.
“The minister will inaugurate a CT scan facility at Gauriganj district hospital besides attending a blanket distribution programme,” said Amethi BJP chief Uma Shankar Pandey. On the contrary, a prominent Congress leader of Amethi Nadeem Ashraf Jaisi called Rahul’s visit apolitical. Rejecting the BJP’s call to rid Amethi and Rae Bareli of the Congress, Devendra Paratp Singh said that the saffron party should take lessons from the recently-concluded polls in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.