Amethi: Taking a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Smriti Irani had claimed that visits by her and senior BJP leaders had ensured that the people of the district were seeing more of the Congress vice- president. The Union Minister of Textiles and Information and Broadcasting is on a two-day tour of Amethi which is the Congress bastion.
Speaking to reporters here yesterday, she said, “In 2014, I had promised the people of Amethi and of the country that by my repeated visits to Amethi I will ensure that the people would be seeing more of Rahul Gandhi.”
Gandhi’s one-day visit to Amethi last week was planned after hearing the news of BJP chief Amit Shah’s visit to the constituency, she claimed.
Amethi had witnessed a high-pitched electoral battle between Gandhi and Irani in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Though she lost, Irani managed to reduce the Congress leader’s victory margin from around 3.70 lakh votes in 2009 to 1.07 lakh in 2014. She said a former Congress MLA along with 60-70 village pradhans had joined the BJP yesterday.
“They were anguished as they had devoted their time to the Congress believing that there would be development in the state under the party, especially under the leadership of Gandhi…But due to neglect and insult of the Congress workers, the party leadership in Amethi is leaving Rahulji,” she alleged.
“This indicates that the person who had shown dreams of development to the nation failed to bring development to even his constituency. It shows that if the people of Amethi today are banking on any party, then it is the BJP,” she claimed.
On Gandhi’s allegations that the BJP at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh was re-inaugurating projects launched by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Irani claimed that at some level the Congress leader admitted he had the habit of showing dreams, while the BJP had the power to fulfil welfare works for the public.
In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the BJP won six of the 10 Assembly seats falling under the Amethi and Rae Bareli parliamentary constituencies. Four of these were in Amethi. Party sources had said visit of the senior BJP leaderswas aimed at sending a clear message that the current dispensation believed in all-round development and was not meting out “step-motherly treatment” to any area.