Congress trying to make it a triangular contest in family bastion - Rae Bareli

Published on Feb 22, 2022 06:38 PM IST

The party has fielded Manish Chauhan against Aditi Singh while Surendra Vikram Singh has been made candidate against Rakesh Singh in Harchandpur. In Unchahar, the Congress has relied on Atul Singh while Sudha Dwivedi has been fielded from Sareni.

In its poll campaign, the Congress laid emphasis on “how Rae Bareli has been given step-motherly treatment in the BJP regime.” (File Photo)
In its poll campaign, the Congress laid emphasis on “how Rae Bareli has been given step-motherly treatment in the BJP regime.” (File Photo)

LUCKNOW The Congress appears to be making last-ditch attempts to make the contests triangular in otherwise what is being considered a straight fight between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party in five assembly segments of Rae Bareli – so far considered to be the only undefeated bastion of the party in Uttar Pradesh. Congress president Sonia Gandhi represents the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat.

In 2017, the party had won two assembly seats with Aditi Singh winning from Rae Bareli and Rakesh Singh emerging a winner from Harchandpur.

The BJP has been making consistent efforts to make deep forays into Rae Bareli. As BJP president, Amit Shah had inducted Congress MLC Dinesh Singh into BJP fold in 2018. Soon Aditi Singh and Rakesh Singh switched over loyalties to the BJP. Both are now contesting the 2022 Assembly polls on BJP ticket and are posing a serious challenge to the Congress candidates there.

Now, the Congress has fielded Manish Chauhan against Aditi Singh while Surendra Vikram Singh has been made a party candidate against Rakesh Singh in Harchandpur. In Unchahar, the Congress has relied on Atul Singh while Sudha Dwivedi has been fielded from Sareni. Sushil Pasi, on the other hand, has been made a Congress candidate in Bachhrawan assembly seat.

In its poll campaign, the Congress laid emphasis on how Rae Bareli has been meted out step-motherly treatment in the BJP regime. It is also relying on Nehru-Gandhi family’s traditional ties with the people of Rae Bareli.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in her campaign, referred to her family’s relations with the people of the constituency and how they elected former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi from the seat over the years.

Both Sonia Gandhi (who addressed a virtual meeting on Monday) and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (who camped in the constituency for two days last week) spoke about development issues in their address to the people. Yet, the Congress apparently has not been able to rake up development as the main poll issue properly.

“The Congress has been able to bring the development issue to the fore only partially. It appears to be a direct contest between Aditi Singh and Manish Chauhan on Rae Bareli assembly seat. Muslim voters may turn out to be a decisive factor. The Congress can get the seat if Muslims decide to vote for its candidates,” said UB Singh, principal, Baiswara Degree College, Lalganj, Rae Bareli.

Singh further said: “Sushil Pasi appears to have an edge against his rivals in Bachhrawan and may win the seat. Sudha Dwivedi and Dhirendra Bahadur Singh are also contesting the election well from Sareni and Harchandpur seats. The Congress may reach half way mark and may repeat its performance of winning at least two seats in 2022 Assembly elections.”

“In Unchahar, former minister Manoj Pandey of Samajwadi Party faces BJP’s Amar Pal Maurya in the main contest and prospects of Congress’s Atul Singh are not bright,” added Singh.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath evoked Hindu gods, Ram and Hanuman, while addressing public meetings in Rae Bareli on Monday. “Both bhai (Rahul Gandhi) and behen (Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) are making efforts to convince people that they are Ram bhakts (devotees). Kalnemi (a demon mentioned in Ramayan) also tried to do so (presented himself as a Ram bhakt). But Hanuman recognised him (Kalnemi),” Adityanath said at an election rally in Harchandpur assembly constituency of Rae Bareli that goes to polls in the fourth phase of UP elections on February 23.

Will the chief minister’s call make an impact? Congress candidate Manish Chauhan refused to comment on Adityanath’s observations. Chauhan was performing ‘puja’ at a local Hanuman temple, when contacted. Later, he said his election campaign has picked up momentum. He said the Congress has always spoken about the development of the constituency and never believed in dividing people on communal lines.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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