Lucknow: A week after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of claiming credit for schemes launched by his party for Amethi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will launch a counter offensive here on Tuesday aimed at playing up Union minister Smriti Irani’s work for the constituency.
Irani, who reduced Gandhi’s winning margin by two lakh votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has been regular to the Congress bastion where she has announced a slew of projects.
On Tuesday, the BJP is expected to announce about 20 more projects in a bid to reinforce the development narrative ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP leaders claim that the rally will showcase growing saffron presence in the Congress citadel where BJP won six out of the 10 assembly seats in the UP assembly polls.
The Congress failed to open its account in five assembly seats in Amethi, a development that many within the BJP say has virtually ensured that Irani will get one more chance to “test” Gandhi in Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“There is more to the visit by Shah and Adityanath on Tuesday. As I see it they are not just going to target Rahul but also possibly offer Irani as a candidate best suited to take care of Amethi,” says Athar Siddiqui, a political analyst at the Centre of Objective Research and Development in Lucknow.
Tuesday’s rally by the BJP leadership is being held on the land adjacent to where the Samrat cycle factory briefly operated.
BJP leaders including Irani are expected to increase the number of their visits to Amrthi.
“No matter what they do now, even the Congress leadership knows that their citadel is crumbling,” says local BJP leader Govind Singh Chauhan.
BJP leaders point to the defection of UP Congress general secretary and former lawmaker from Amethi Jung Bahadur Singh to the BJP as proof of Congress’s waning support here.
Singh, who is expected to share the stage with BJP bigwigs on Tuesday, too targeted the Congress leadership of doing ‘little’ for Amethi building on the ‘us vs them’ narrative scripted by the BJP leadership.