Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of BJP lashed out at the Gandhi family at the fag end of the campaigning ahead of the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Amethi. In a burst of volleys directed at the Gandhis, Modi left no stone unturned to attack Gandhi family in the last minute of the poll campaign in the Gandhi bastion.
Observers saw Modi’s cut and thrust as an outright attempt to drum up maximum support for Smriti Irani, a key member of his team. BJP may not be convinced of victory of Amethi but is certainly banking on the challenge against Rahul as a force. Also, even if it loses Amethi while managing to reduce Rahul’s victory margin, it would gain from the perception that it has eroded the Gandhis’ support base.
Modi mocked the Gandhi family’s bid for votes admiring their relationship with the people of Amethi from the time their father represented the constituency, and made rebuttals to every jibe Rahul, Priyanka and Sonia have passed at him in recent weeks. Taking a swing at Priyanka for saying “Who Smriti Irani is ?” Modi said that only the Gandhi clan has the ego to try and run someone down like this.
What is behind Modi’s last minute dash to Rahul’s bastion? It is believed that Modi wanted an eye to eye fight with the Congress top leader which could swirl the wind in their favour in the neighbouring constituencies. Modi’s one hour long speech at Amethi drew nearly two lakhs of people who were vocal and loud to every single scathing attack on Gandhis. But the loudest cheer erupts when Modi says, “Congress asks me what I will do if Idon’t win. I tell them, I have my tea stall to fall back“.
The reaction is understandable. Irani is a serious threat to Rahul and like every other constituencies in UP, Rahul is facing the toughest challenge from the BJP in this election in Amethi, Like every district in UP, Amethi is poor and people have aspirations that have not been met. If there is anything that will stop Smriti from a victory, the observers believe, it is the near total absence of Muslims at Modi’s rally.
Is Rahul losing ground at Amethi? It is true that for the first time, the Gandhi family has been challenged in their own den. The battle for Amethi has become a prestige war which puts dynasty in the dock. BJP is not going to give a walkover this time to Rahul as they have stormed into the Gandhi bastion with questions of tangible development which is seemingly not visible despite claims from Congress.
Meantime, Congress is in a huddle and planning to counter seize at Varanasi against Modi. Priyanka Gandhi refused to rise to the Modi bait, choosing instead a dignified response to the aggressive saffron attack. Shortly after Modi’s address in Amethi rally, Priyanka told the press that BJP has been disrespectful of her martyred father and every single booth will give a resounding reply on 7th May. Priyanka, who is camped in Amethi and Rae Bareli, had emanated with confidence saying that Congress would win both seats as usual.