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Amit Shah unveils plan to conquer Congress bastion Rae Barelli

BJP president Amit Shah’s rally in Rae Bareli was organised by Congress member of the UP legislative council Dinesh Prarap Singh, who along with his brother Awadhesh joined the ruling party.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2018 19:13 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Rae Bareli
Amit Shah,Amit Shah Rae Bareli rally,BJP
Congress MLC Dinesh Pratap Singh presents a memento to BJP president Amit Shah in the presence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath at a rally in Rae Bareli on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Saturday announced the launch of his most ambitious political project yet – Mission Rae Bareli.

Speaking at the Lok Sabha constituency of United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Shah unveiled the BJP’s plan to launch a campaign to win Rae Bareli, similar in scale to the one launched in adjacent Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

“We will end ‘parivarvaad’ (dynastic rule) in Rae Bareli and usher in vikasvaad (development),” Shah said, adding that before his party comes to seek votes for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it would present a ‘model Rae Bareli’ before the voters to showcase its intent to transform this Congress bastion.

Shah’s ‘parivarvaad’ jibe has a context. Barring three exceptions -- 1977, 1996 and 1998 -- Rae Bareli has stood with the Congress since 1952, electing members of the Nehru-Gandhi family from Feroze to Indira and Sonia to the Lok Sabha.

Taking on the Congress chief over his recent remark that ‘truth will catch up with Shah one day’ after the Supreme Court ruled against the need to probe Judge BH Loya’s death, the BJP chief said, “Modiji’s government stands for truth and justice. Today so many leaders of the Panchavati family joined the BJP because the party stands for truth,” Shah said.

“Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP instinctively understand the truth about Mr Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him,” Gandhi had tweeted after the SC decision on Judge Loya.

Shah used Rae Bareli as a stage to respond to Gandhi. Referring to the recent acquittal of all the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast, Shah demanded an apology from Gandhi over remarks by Congress leaders alleging the prevalence of Hindu terrorism in the country and accusing him of stooping ‘too low’ for political gains. “We will continue to seek the Congress’ apology on the Hindu terror remarks,” Shah said.

Saturday’s rally was organised by Congress member of the UP legislative council Dinesh Prarap Singh. Singh and his brother Awadhesh, a Rae Bareli zila panchayat chairman, joined the BJP in presence of Shah and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Dinesh’s other brother Rakesh Singh, the Congress legislator from the Harchandpur assembly segment of Rae Bareli, however didn’t join the BJP, ostensibly to escape disqualification under the anti-defection act, BJP leaders indicated.

“The BJP is now sure to put up a strong candidate in Rae Bareli to rattle the Gandhis even further,” a party leader who shared the dais with Shah said.

Earlier, a short circuit close to the dais created a commotion and the rally had to be temporarily suspended .

However, the situation was quickly brought under control by the police and BJP volunteers. Soon after the rally resumed, Adityanath launched a veiled attack on the Congress..

“I was thinking of this short circuit and felt how the Congress has been behind most conspiracies, right from the one launched to defame Shah to the recent campaign after the court verdict on Judge Loya’s death,” Adityanath said.

Shah however saw a silver lining in the minor disruption in the rally caused by the short circuit.

“I guess there are obstacles ahead of all auspicious things. This is a good sign. Despite the short circuit the rally went on as scaheduled,” Shah said.

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 19:09 IST