Storming Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's home bastion of Amethi with a litany of UPA failures and NDA successes, senior BJP leader Smriti Irani said on Tuesday it took her just 10 days to do what hadn't been done in 10 years.
She was referring to a train full of goodies for the constituency that arrived barely 12 hours before her visit -- 45 bogies carrying 1,200 sacks of urea each to go with the announcement of Rs 3 lakh paid in insurance premium for 25,000 poor people and a promise to pay the same for 5,000 women by Diwali.
"Amethi is my family," Irani said at a political rally, terming the sops as first-anniversary gifts from the Modi government as she tried to play down the long-running Congress association with the constituency.
"Work on laying a fresh road between Banda and Ambedkarnagar for improved connectivity from Amethi to Rae Bareli is already on. A new train connecting Unchachar with Amethi is coming up and Rs 40 crore has been sanctioned for a double rail line between Rae Bareli and Pratapgarh. You'll now get projects being demanded for generations," she said to loud cheers.
Irani had promised a fertilizer rake in Amethi during a kisan panchayat when she had visited the constituency with Union minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Baliyan on May 12. The insurance premium was paid under the Pradhan Mantri Bima Suraksha Yojana, the Rs 12 annual premium scheme with a Rs 2 lakh cover for accidental death or permanent disability.
Her third visit to Amethi since last year's Lok Sabha elections is being viewed in political circles as an attempt to consolidate the BJP's position ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls due in 2017. In the five assembly segments of Amethi, the Samajwadi Party has three MLAs while the Congress has two.
Former UP minister Dal Bahadur Kori said for good measure that Irani could be the state's next chief minister. Welcoming Irani at Salon, Kori said the manner in which she connected with Amethi made it clear she could easily become an MLA from there. "MLA nahin MP (not MLA but MP)" Irani was heard telling him. Kori promptly said, "As MLA, you could be the chief minister of UP."
The BJP's state incharge Om Mathur has already said he isn't in favour of projecting a chief ministerial candidate before the state polls, adding, "That's my take. The party's decision will be final."