BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has declared that by addressing a public meeting in Amethi on Monday he would chase the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family up to their home.
He would challenge both Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka in Amethi.
Unlike BJP veterans Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani in the past, Modi has used vitriolic words against his rivals in his campaign. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul and Union minister Beni Prasad Verma have been victims of Modi’s sharp tongue, which was unthinkable in the Atal-Advani era. But then Modi is known for his aggression.
Interestingly, Modi did not visit Mainpuri and Kannauj constituencies which are being contested by the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his daughter-in-law Dimnple Yadav. Nor did he go to Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency. Ahead of Modi’s rally in Amethi, the BJP has deployed all its might not only for a record turnout but for the defeat of Rahul, who is being challenged from the BJP camp by TV’s favourite ‘bahu’ Smriti Irani popularly called as ‘Tulsi’ for her role in ‘Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’.
Party general secretary Amit Shah is already in Amethi. The party has summoned UP BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai and all party workers and RSS volunteers of the adjoining districts where election has already been completed are called to fan out in each and every village for mobilizing support for Irani.
Irani had, in fact, accepted to contest Rahul only on the assurance of Modi-Shah combine and that they would also come for her support.
Even though AAP leader Kumar Vishwas is also in the fray, the main contest is between Rahul and Irani.
In Amethi, traditionally a pocketborough of the Nehru-Gandhi family barring a few instances, this time Rahul is facing a tough contest.
The 2012 Assembly election result, which showed three of the Assembly segments being won by Samajwadi Party candidates defeating Congress leaders, was the first sign of erosion of the Congress support base.
The BJP wants to exploit the same mood by going whole hog against Rahul.
The Samajwadi Party has not fielded any candidate against the Congress in this constituency and it is to be seen whether the SP party chief openly comes to the rescue of Rahul when he is in troubled waters.