Token fight for opponents of Sonia and Rahul in polls
In the pocketborough of the Gandhi-Nehru family, the race for the opponents of the Congress is not to emerge as a winner in the Lok Sabha polls but to get the second position.india Updated: Apr 10, 2009 15:34 IST
In the pocketborough of the Gandhi-Nehru family, the race for the opponents of the Congress is not to emerge as a winner in the Lok Sabha polls but to get the second position.
The two constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are adjacent, have been the stronghold of the first political family of the country for decades, so much so that for the opponents the result appears to be a foregone conclusion and the electoral battle just a token fight.
While Congress President Sonia Gandhi is contesting her third election from Rae Bareli, her son and AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is contesting his second election from Amethi.
Caste, community, occupational and communal lines have blurred in the two constituencies in the name of what the locals call as "family" and even the opponents admit that it is only "tokenism" when they take on the two heavyweights.
Ironically, in the assembly elections when the Gandhis do not contest, the caste and communal lines again play an important role though the Congress has an upper hand. In the five assembly segments of Amethi seat, Congress has only three segments under it while the remaining two were shared by SP and BSP.
Of the five assembly segments in Rae Bareli, Congress has four MLAs while one is represented by an Independent.
"The curiosity in both the Lok Sabha seats is to know who comes second and what will be the victory margin of the Gandhis," said Ramdhan Singh, a block-level Congress leader from Maharajganj area.
In both the constituencies, SP has not put up any candidate but both BSP and BJP have their nominees in place.
BSP candidate in Amethi Ashish Shukla is campaigning on the issue of "fearless and corruption free administration", something which the people of the constituency are not buying. Shukla, a former Congressman, left the party when Congress admitted Sanjay Singh and his wife Amrita Singh in the party.
BJP candidate Pradeep Singh is toeing the lines of party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani in his campaign. The presence of both in the constituency is minimal with only Congress flags fluttering atop most of the houses.
Rae Bareli has R B Singh of BJP and R S Kushwaha of BSP to give a fight to Sonia Gandhi. "We will bring development to the area," says Kushwaha in his public meetings but there is hardly any taker for such promises with the voters enamoured with the "family".