A district BJP functionary explained in a hushed tone that the arrival of Rajya Sabha MP and former TV star Smriti Irani has helped galvanise the local party and that BJP will move up from being the fourth to that of the runner up or the second position. He said the people of Amethi are aware that Amethi has got a national profile because it is the constituency of the Nehru-Gandhis, and that if someone else were to take over it will be reduced to like any other constituency in Uttar Pradesh. It is this desire for a place in the sun that makes people of Amethi vote for Rahul Gandhi, he said.
He also felt the BJP should have announced the name of Smriti Irani much earlier than it did so that she could spend more time in the constituency. He pointed out that Kumar Vishwas of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had been here for four months and he has been engaged in door-to-door campaign. But he is now confident that Irani will leave him behind and BJP will overtake other losers.
The complaint against Congress is that no industrialisation has taken place and there are no job opportunities for the local people. There are public and private sector units in Jagdishpur, which is part of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, like Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Indo-Gulf Fertilisers, which is a Birla-owned company and the Associated Cement Company, but most of the employees in these factories are from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra
There was a Malvika Steel Plant, a private sector enterprise, which was set up at a cost of Rs12,000 crore, and with a subsidy component of Rs4,000 crore. But it closed and hundreds of employees were left in the lurch.
The more poignant complaint heard in Amethi is that there is no direct train or bus connection to Allahabad, which is still considered the seat of learning in these parts. And this becomes ironical because Allahabad is the ancestral home of Rahul Gandhi.
The caste composition of the constituency too is complex enough. There are 22% Dalit voters, 11% Muslims, 14% Rajputs and 17% Brahmins. The remaining belong to the Other Backward Classes.
Despite the murmurs of protest from the few active in the BJP and other opposition party circles, it is conceded that Rahul Gandhi will win the election. The story in the assembly elections are quite different. Of the five assembly constituencies that form part of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, three are with the Samajwadi Party and two with the Congress. The monopoly of the Nehru-Gandhi may not remain unchallenged in the future.
Congress supporters point that all the opposition giants had to bite the dust in Amethi including Sharad Yadav, Kanshiram, Maneka Gandhi, Sanjay Singh (now with Congress) and Vedanti of the BJP. — Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr