With the Lok Sabha election looming near, attention has turned to Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi’s electoral bastion.
Created in 1967, the Amethi constituency has been represented by the Congress for 44 years of which the Gandhis have held on to it for 28 years.
As the contest inches closer, the Bharatiya Janata Party is working hard to ensure it can do all that it can to wrest Amethi from Rahul, an outcome which would be a disaster for the Congress.
The BJP has decided to once again field Union Minister Smriti Irani from Amethi and hope for a favourable result this time.
In 2014, when Irani was pitched against Rahul in Amethi, the Congress leader’s winning margin was 107,903 votes. He won the seat in 2009 by 370,198 votes.
From 2015 onwards, Irani has spent at least three days each month in Amethi in her bid to wrest the seat in 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi visited Amethi earlier this month to lay the foundation stone of a factory to manufacture AK-203 rifles.
Modi indicated to Irani that he will address a rally in Amethi during the campaign.
BJP national President Amit Anilchandra Shah has been monitoring the Amethi seat and spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ajay Singh Bisht to support Irani’s candidature.
Some 5,000 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers will head to Amethi to warm up Amethi residents to Irani.
The Congress will also go all out in Amethi to ensure its president’s victory. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath have been asked to depute at least 2,500 workers from their states to Amethi to work for Rahul’s success.
His sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra will be in charge of the Congress campaign in Amethi, giving Rahul the leeway to focus on the rest of India during the election campaign.