AAP candidate Kumar Vishwas said Tuesday he was confident of defeating Congress leader Rahul Gandhi despite the BJP's move to field actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani in Amethi.
"I welcome her to the competition in Amethi but her candidature won't change anything," a confident Kumar Vishwas told IANS over the telephone.
Kumar Vishwas said as far as he was concerned, "she's just another candidate" in Amethi, where Rahul Gandhi is seeking re-election to the Lok Sabha.
The AAP candidate pointed out that he has had a headstart in Amethi, a sprawling and largely rural constituency in Uttar Pradesh widely known as a Gandhi family bastion.
"I have been going to 30-40 villages every day. I am in a village this moment as well, and I have been here for months.
"If she can come here in 45 degrees heat and talk to people, if she can stay here like I have been staying and discuss the issues of the people, I welcome her candidature.
"But the fact is that Amethi has already decided what it has to do. There is an Aam Aadmi Party wave... 'Jhadu ki lehar hai in Amethi'."
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced Monday that it would field Smriti Irani, a popular actress, from Amethi and Supreme Court lawyer Ajay Aggarwal from Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's constituency.
Kumar Vishwas reiterated the AAP charge that the BJP and Congress "give each other a walkover so that ... their leaders win" in elections.
"Why did they not field a strong candidate in Rae Bareli as well? This is the proof."
Kumar Vishwas said that if the BJP really wanted to put up a strong candidate in Amethi, they should have gone for BJP president Rajnath Singh or its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi or Arun Jaitley.
"I had even challenged him (Modi) that if you are so disappointed with the prince (Rahul Gandhi), then why don't you fight the election from Amethi yourself or pit one of your party stalwarts?"
"The BJP has brought in an ex-actress from Mumbai. They are making a mockery of the people and playing with their emotions. What does she (Smriti) know about Amethi?"
He went on: "Rahul was already an actor, and we have another actor who has come to contest."