The people of Amethi, the stronghold of the Gandhis, believe Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is the ‘prime minister in waiting’. They say the time has come for Rahul to assume the helm of India.
On Wednesday, 89 constituencies in nine states, contested by top Congress and BJP leaders, went to polls in the seventh round.
Voting will take place in Amethi on May 7. Rahul has been pitted against BJP’s actor-turned politician Smriti Irani, lead actress in one of India’s most popular TV soaps, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (Because a mother-in-law too was once a daughter-in-law).
Aam Admi Party’s Kabir Kumar Biswas and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Dharmendra Pratap Singh are also in the fray.
Amethi has been the seat of power of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty since 1980, when Sanjay Gandhi was elected from the constituency.
Located 104km from Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh constituency is one of the most-talked-about seats in Indian polls. The people of Amethi have supported the Gandhis in the past. It is no different this time.
“The pride of Amethi is different, it rules India and will continue to do so,” a farmer Mani Deblal said, speaking to bdnews24.com
It will be Rahul’s third election. In 2004, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi vacated Amethi constituency for her son Rahul and contested from Raebareli. Rahul entered the Lok Sabha as the youngest member sweeping the by-polls.
He contested the first two polls as the party’s fifth general secretary but this time, he is in the fray as the ruling party’s vice-chairman.
Gomati River flows by Amethi. Numerous small industries have flourished on both sides of the river but most of the residents are farmers.
The development of the area has been slow and the infrastructure is poor. The farmers still have to walk a long way to reach destinations. It’s not as noisy as the buzzing cities, but the people seem content.
The constituency has a population of over 1.2 million, 48 percent of them are female.
Rahul has been working for a decade to make the people of this area self-reliant. He has introduced a new poverty alleviation model.
The farmers are apparently happy.
Farmer ‘Nanita’ said poverty was their only companion in the past but now the times have changed. “We are living happily now,” she said.
“You cannot fathom how Amethi was 10 years ago. There have been many changes,” she said.
Another farmer ‘Sudipta’ lamented that they themselves could not become land owners despite getting loan facilities.
“We feel unsecure about our future,” he said.
Despite everything, the locals say they favour the Gandhis.
The people of Amethi believe the Gandhi family alone can maintain peace in the Indian sub-continent.
Asked whether BJP candidate Smriti Irani will have any impact in the polls, college teacher Shilendra Singh said, “No-one can stop Rahul from winning, it is the universal truth.
“He is more popular and acceptable as a candidate.”
Rahul, born on June 19, 1970, took higher education from the US. He returned home in 2002 and was appointed Congress general secretary five years later. He was made the party’s vice-chairman early last year.
His younger sister Priyanka Gandhi is the chief coordinator of his campaign.
Source: Bd news24