Amit Shah trails Gandhis to Rae Bareli, plans to induct Congress leaders into BJP | india news | Hindustan Times
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Amit Shah trails Gandhis to Rae Bareli, plans to induct Congress leaders into BJP

Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath will address a rally in Rae Bareli, which is Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, along with deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma on Saturday.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2018 21:42 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey and Brajendra K Parashar
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the inauguration of various roads and other developmental projects in Rae Bareli on Wednesday.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the inauguration of various roads and other developmental projects in Rae Bareli on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath are all set to lead a high-powered party delegation to Rae Bareli this weekend, close on the heels of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s two-day visit to the constituency.

Shah and Adityanath will address a rally in Rae Bareli, which is Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, along with deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma and several ministers from the state and central cabinets on Saturday.

In a calculated move to rattle the Congress leadership, the BJP has also paved the way for former Congress MLC Dinesh Pratap Singh and his two brothers – Rakesh and Awadesh – to join its ranks. While Rakesh is the MLA from Rae Bareli’s Harchandpur assembly segment, Awadhesh is the chairman of the Rae Bareli zila panchayat.

Party insiders said the brothers have their own reasons for joining the BJP, one of which is the need to stave off a likely no-confidence motion against Awadesh.

Dinesh and Rakesh had resigned from the Congress on April 10.

“It’s true that we are no longer with the Congress. However, we are yet to decide where we are headed. We will collect public feedback before taking a final decision,” Dinesh told HT over the phone.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders in the region painted the impending entry of the three Congress leaders as a political masterstroke. “The move will definitesly give us a psychological edge ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” one of them said.

The BJP is likely to repeat Smriti Irani, who had cut into Rahul’s victory margin in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, from Amethi. Although the BJP had earlier fielded Supreme Court lawyer Ajay Aggarwal from Rae Bareli, it will take a decision for the upcoming polls only after observing the Congress’ move.

Sonia, Rahul hold Janata Darbar

Even as speculations on the Singh brothers’ impending entry into the BJP swirled around, Sonia and Rahul held a ‘janata darbar’ at the Bhuemau guest house on the final day of their Rae Bareli visit.

Sonia had reached her constituency after an extended gap of 20 months on Tuesday evening. Soon after touching down, she inaugurated an Indian Medical Association building, declared open a passport office and chaired a district vigilance monitoring committee meeting.

Rahul skirted media queries pertaining to the Singh brothers’ likely entry into the saffron fold, instead preferring to question Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on corruption charges against Shah’s son. “There is a flood of corruption in the country these days. Even the Prime Minister is turning a blind eye, letting people like Nirav Modi get away,” he said.

The Congress chief said he would render the Prime Minister “speechless” if allowed to speak in Parliament for just 15 minutes.

Rahul also held a meeting outside a Dalit’s house at Nigohi village, where he interacted with students of a government junior high school.

Sonia, for her part, received a rousing welcome at Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Pandey’s house. The former minister had personally invited her over on Tuesday.

Pandey, however, said she visited his residence in her capacity as the Rae Bareli MP. “No political meaning should be attached to this meet. I am not going to join the Congress,” he added.