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Cong MLC throws a ‘booth-challenge’ in Amethi

A tweet by Congress MLC and general secretary Deepak Singh challenging BJP to win even a single booth in Amethi in 2019 Lok Sabha polls turned into a full scale political slugfest - both on and offline.

lucknow Updated: Jun 05, 2018 13:18 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
MLC,Deepak Singh,Amethi
Congress strategists say that the party would continue to counter attack the BJP.(PTI Photo)

A tweet by Congress MLC and general secretary Deepak Singh challenging BJP to win even a single booth in Amethi in 2019 Lok Sabha polls turned into a full scale political slugfest - both on and offline.

Singh, who hails from Amethi, rounded off his challenge saying he would quit as MLC if BJP wins even a booth in Amethi and dared BJP chief Amit Shah, who has been focused on increasing BJP’s booth-level preparedness, to accept the challenge. “Let the BJP put its finger on at least one booth they are capable of winning,” he tweeted and got trolled instantly before Congress supporters started tweeting.

The BJP laughed the comparison away. Riding on Modi wave, the BJP had cut into Rahul Gandhi’s victory margin in Amethi in 2014. It again embarrassed the Congress in 2017 UP polls when the party won 4 seats as Congress failed to open its account.

“Look who is talking. An MLC dependent on Congress top leadership for survival talking of taking on the chief of the world’s largest political party. Isn’t it laughable,” asked influential MLC Dinesh Singh, who left Congress and joined the BJP in Amit Shah’s presence in Rae Bareli in April.

But Deepak Singh feels 2019 would be a “different ball game”.

“I would quit if BJP wins (a single booth) in Amethi in 2019 Lok Sabha polls but would Shah follow suit if it doesn’t,” asked the Congress MLC who got trolled by BJP supporters for the challenge. But the Congress leader didn’t stop at this, following it up with a second tweet in which he claimed several BJP MPs, including top leaders, were planning to change their constituencies.

The BJP vote share went up from 4 per cent in 2009 to 21 per cent in Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and from 6 per cent to 34 percent in Amethi, reason why the BJP initially dismissed the challenge as ‘outlandish.’

However, the BJP strategists later admitted that the tweet bared a psychological ploy by the Congress, which recently stopped BJP from forming its government in Karnataka and then joined the opposition to hand out embarrassing defeats in Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly by-polls in UP.

In April, Shah had announced the launch of his most ambitious political project yet – Mission Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of Sonia Gandhi, who is now the UPA chairperson.

“The Congress is talking of Amethi but we are already focused on Rae Bareli now,” said Hero Bajpai, BJP’s Rae Bareli in-charge. In the coming days along with holding rallies featuring top leaders, the party would also take various government schemes to the people.

But Congress strategists say that the party would continue to counter attack the BJP.

“I plan to follow up the tweet with a letter to BJP chief now. Very soon we would also prepare a list of BJP lies,” the Congress MLC said.

Meanwhile, BJP fielded UP minister Suresh Pasi, its lawmaker from Jagdishpur assembly segment of Amethi Lok Sabha, to take on the Congress. “The challenge is to win a booth in Amethi. Well, we accept it. In fact, now we challenge them to save a certain defeat here in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Rahul would lose so badly from here that he would forget this constituency altogether. People are with development. The sycophants need to understand this,” the UP minister said.

First Published: Jun 05, 2018 13:16 IST