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Smriti Irani, Yogi Adityanath to hold rallies in Amethi next week to counter Rahul Gandhi

The BJP has been gaining politically in Amethi since 2014 Lok Sabha elections and wants to aggressively challenge Rahul Gandhi ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls

lucknow Updated: Oct 06, 2017 10:28 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Bharatiya Janata Party,BJP,UP CM Yogi Adityanath
BJP chief Amit Shah, union minister Smriti Irani and UP CM Yogi Adityanath will visit Amethi on October 10.(HT File Photo)

Three days after the visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah, union minister Smriti Irani and UP CM Yogi Adityanath will reach Amethi to strengthen saffron presence in the Gandhi turf.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been gaining politically in Amethi since 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The three leaders will address a public meeting on the Samrat Cycle premises in Amethi on Tuesday. The venue holds significance as Smriti Irani had created a stir in 2015 by accusing top Congress leadership of usurping nearly 65 acres of land acquired from farmers in the name of setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat cycle, a project that never materialised.

The Congress had responded by slapping a legal notice on Irani for defamation.

“The party chief will visit Amethi on October 10,” confirmed UP BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak without specifying the venue for the public meeting.

Experts say the meetings indicate a BJP plan to concentrate on those constituencies the party lost in 2014 and keep up pressure on Rahul Gandhi.

During his Amethi visit, Rahul chose to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Shah, claiming that the BJP’s three years in power has been a failure.

Rahul’s victory margin had slumped from 3.70 lakh votes in 2009 to 1.07 lakh votes in 2014 when Irani had put up a spirited fight against him.

The party also embarrassed the Congress winning 6 out of 10 assembly seats in Rae Bareli and Amethi – four of them from Rahul’s constituency.

In 2012, BJP had not won a single seat from the two constituencies.

BJP sources said Irani, who recently described Rahul as a “failed dynast”, could again contest from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Despite losing the seat, Irani has been regularly visiting the Congress bastion.

“Rahul is unnerved by the growing BJP focus in Amethi and Rae Bareli,” said BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi adding that in the coming days the party would intensify attack on the Congress leadership.

First Published: Oct 05, 2017 21:50 IST