AMETHI: Rahul Gandhi is the sitting MP, but it is Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who keeps the town glued to every piece of information regarding her next political move. The buzz among the voters is if Congress president Rahul Gandhi wins election from both Wayanad and Amethi, the seat will be passed on to his younger sister. Priyanka has been managing election campaign in Amethi and in neighbouring Rae Bareli for her mother Sonia for last 15 years.
This time, she has been camping here for consecutive days, and giving her touch to campaigns by reaching out to women and children in small groups, obliging them with quick selfies and sharing her childhood memories during her visits with grandmother Indira Gandhi.
There has been a widespread anger against Rahul in Amethi for the people feel that he hardly visits the constituency and has failed to carry development works in the area during last 15 years of his tenure as MP. But, the anger tones down for Priyanka as they feel she will be able to focus more in the area and would bring development that was seen during her father Rajiv Gandhi’s times.
Ever since it was formed in 1966, Amethi has elected a Gandhi family member nine times including two former PMs Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. Sanjay and Sonia have also represented the seat. “Rahul Gandhi bade neta hain (national leader) and can contest from two seats. Even Modiji contested from two seats in 2014. He finds it difficult to focus here as he has a lot of responsibility. We think that he will keep Wayanad and leave this seat for didi (Priyanka). She is already doing so much campaigning and it is good for us to have her as our MP,” said Sushil Jaiswal, who runs a confectionary shop at Ambedkar Tiraha, as he keenly watched Priyanka’s road show passing in front of his shop.
Some locals say Rahul’s decision to contest from Wayanad may go against him in Amethi and the people may vote for BJP leader Smriti Irani, who is giving a tough fight, but others disagree. In 2014, the winning margin between Irani and Rahul narrowed down to around one lakh. “This seat has remained with the Gandhi family for long, and whether it is Rahul or Priyanka doesn’t matter to us. It was Rajiv Gandhi who carried so much work here,” said Krishna Devi Yadav, a resident of Amethi Nagar block. Krishna has named her only son after the Congress national president.