Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas on Sunday said the Congress has failed the people of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, and that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi never raised the problems of his constituency in Parliament even once.
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas being welcomed by supporters at Aligarh railway station en route to Amethi. (PTI Photo)
"Rahul Gandhi, prior to elections, turns up in Amethi seeking votes, but when the time comes to work for the people there, he never pay heed," Vishwas said, addressing a public rally in Amethi, about 140km from state capital Lucknow.
The poet-turned-politician said it was time to give a ‘naukar’ (servant) the chance after bringing several generations of ‘yuvrajs’ (princes) to power. "Amethi has to decide now. I am an 'aam aadmi' and he (Rahul Gandhi) is a prince. If Amethi wants, it can get rid of dynasty politics. Winning and losing is not the point, but what is important is we are challenging dynastic politics and corruption," the 43-year-old leader said.
Vishwas said Rahul Gandhi would spend nights in Amethi to win the sympathy of people in his constituency, but that alone would not solve their problems.
"There are a lot of other problems to which Rahul has paid no heed," he said, explaining that he was firmly resolved to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from Amethi.
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Earlier in the day, Vishwas was shown black flags by a group of people, who were protesting against his purported remarks about a religious event, while he was heading to Amethi.
Stones and eggs were also thrown at two buses ferrying party supporters to the rally venue, in Gandhi Chowk area of the city.
Window panes of the buses were damaged and police resorted to mild force to control the mob after which the buses left for the rally venue.
Vishwas, when asked about the protests, said these were "sponsored" and he would defeat Rahul Gandhi with a "huge margin" in the Lok Sabha polls.
They also burnt effigy of the AAP leader and said that a person, who does not respect religious sentiments, would not be accepted in Amethi.
Vishwas has already tendered his apology about the comment on the religious event.
The AAP leader said that holding a rally in Amethi is a challenge to "dynasty politics and corruption"
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Vishwas was greeted with black flags in Jagdishpur area also.
At 10.50am, a group of men waving black flags and shouting slogans against Vishwas had assembled on the road as the AAP fleet passed Kamrauli in Jagdishpur area, 50 kmahead of the rally venue in Amethi.
The protesters claimed that they didn't belong to any organisation and were irked by Vishwas for hurting their religious sentiments.
"We will not let someone rule us who has ridiculed Imam Hussain and Bhagwan Shiva in his poetry," a protesterAli Rizvi said.
An attempt to hurl a shoe was also averted by police at the site.
To a query on protest at his press conference on Saturday, Vishwas said: "What is the protest all about? Is it because that Amethi's dynasty politics should not be challenged or is it about the poems that I have read which had hurt the sentiments of certain community, for which I have already apologised."
Vishwas on Saturday said if reports that Rahul Gandhi was mulling contesting Lok Sabha polls from both Chikmagalur and Amethi were true, then it would be deemed that he had conceded defeat even before the contest.
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The AAP leader also said that his party would field the "best candidate" against BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, though it would take some time.
Speaking ahead of the event on Saturday, Vishwas said that he expected it to be disrupted by activists of other political parties, including possibly the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.
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On Saturday, a man, identified later as Saif Jafari, threw an egg in the direction of Vishwas and waived a paper stating that the latter had hurt religious sentiments of both majority and minority communities and it "will not be tolerated".
Jafari, a native of Bijnore, was later nabbed by AAP workers and handed over to the police.
Vishwas described the incident as a political conspiracy of opposition parties which feel threatened by the growing popularity of the AAP.
"If these (opposition) political parties think that by throwing eggs, inks, organising attacks they can win elections they should better look towards Delhi," he said.
Vishwas was addressing the press conference after presiding over a function in which over 2000 traders joined the AAP in Lucknow.
Even though the AAP will release its first list of candidates for the 2014 general elections after January 15, party sources said Vishwas is most likely to contest from Amethi.
(With inputs from IANS, PTI)