Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi raised expectations about development in Amethi after wrapping up a two-day tour on Friday, but that hasn’t deterred the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from trying to make inroads into the Gandhi family borough.
Senior BJP leaders say Union minister for human resources development Smriti Irani, who lost to Gandhi in the Lok Sabha election, has submitted development proposals for Amethi as the party works on a strategy to win over people in the constituency.
“Smriti Irani has decided to deploy two officials at Gauriganj, the district headquarters, to take care of people’s problems. We have been asked to search for a building where they can work,” said Govind Singh, the BJP’s Amethi vice-resident.
The BJP is hoping to take advantage of the fact that Rahul cannot push any new projects with the Union government’s help as the Congress has been voted out of power.
Rahul already has a strong office network in Amethi. Apart from Congress units in all villages, his representatives are always available at Munshiganj to follow up on the problems of the people.
He has been talking of his vision for the constituency, saying he wants to develop the region as an educational hub and connect local farmers with the world market to ensure local agricultural products are sold at a better price.
BJP leaders have also begun speaking the same language now. “Irani wants to make Amethi an educational hub. She wants to set up a women’s university and bring more educational institutions here,” said Uma Shankar Pandey, who worked as Irani’s poll agent in the general election.
Rahul has gone to Amethi three times since the Lok Sabha election. Irani, on the other hand, has been only once after losing the poll but BJP leaders say she may visit this month or next month.