Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit Gandhi family’s stronghold- Raebareli- for the first time on December 16. PM Modi is expected to conduct a public meeting, flag off the Humsafar Express and inspect the Modern Rail Coach Factory. According to media reports, PM Modi will lay the foundation stone and inaugurate projects worth Rs 1,100 crore during the visit.
He will later visit Prayagraj where he will perform Ganga Pujan for a successful Kumbh Mela next year in the city.
The India Today has quoted a UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi saying, “PM is going there with a message of development.” He further said, “Despite being a high profile constituency, the Congress party failed to carry our development there. Since BJP has come to power, unprecedented development work has taken place in the district. We are hopeful of winning both Raebareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 polls.”
Sonia Gandhi has not visited her constituency Raebareli since April this year. The saffron party has been trying to defeat the Congress in its stronghold since the last three Lok Sabha elections, but so far all its attempts have gone in vain. The incumbent UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has won for four times- 2004, 2006 by polls, 2009, and 2014- by huge margins. In 2014 general elections, she won the constituency defeating Ajay Agrawal of the BJP by 352,713 votes.
According to media reports, this time, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to rope in rebel AAP leader Kumar Vishwas and Sonia Gandhi’s former close associate Dinesh Singh to contest from Rae Bareli in the upcoming crucial 2019 General Elections.
The Times of India (TOI) has quoted Dinesh Singh saying, “I nurtured several Vidhan Sabha constituencies like Salone and Tiloi in Amethi since I was an MLC there. I have worked as a loyal soldier of Congress in Rae Bareli. But, there was no interest for any projects by the Gandhi family members. Hence I joined BJP and would be happy to be fielded by them.” Last year, Singh had left the Congress party.
The TOI has quoted a top UP BJP official saying, “We have shortlisted a few names for Rae Bareli. This includes Kumar Vishwas, Dinesh Singh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, and Vinay Katiyar.”
Raebareli constituency is mainly dominated by Brahmins and OBCs (Kurmi Patels). Kumar Vishwas is a Brahmin, a popular poet, and has good oratory skills. It is said that Modi and Kumar Vishwas have always enjoyed good relationship when Modi was serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The BJP leader Rita Bahunguna Joshi and Kumar Vishwas are being considered mainly to woo the Brahmin voters of the constituency. Dinesh Singh, also an MLC, is a popular face in the region especially in rural parts of Rae Bareli. Vinay Katiyar has the strong backing of the organization such as Bajrang Dal, and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists.
If reports are true, then the saffron party’s move is directed to make inroads into the Gandhi stronghold-Raebareli and Amethi. In the days to come, the party might also employ other popular union ministers including Smriti Irani, Manoj Sinha, and Arun Jaitley.
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