‘€˜Priyanka Gandhi’s clerk’€™: BJP’€™s Rae Bareli candidate takes jibe at Cong’s Amethi pick

Rae Bareli, May 9 (PTI) The BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh has accused the Gandhi family of harbouring “hatred” for Rae Bareli-Amethi, and asked why they did not field a local leader but opted for “Priyanka Gandhi’s clerk” to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Amethi.

Singh, who is taking on Rahul Gandhi in a high-profile electoral contest here, also claimed that the Gandhi scion will lose by a bigger margin than his mother Sonia Gandhi had won in the 2019 polls.

Sonia Gandhi had beaten Singh in 2019 by over 1,67,000 votes. However, this was the lowest margin of victory that Sonia Gandhi has had in the five elections, including a bypoll, that she has fought from the constituency.

“People have great trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under his leadership, the country as well as the hard-earned income of the people is safe. People of Rae Bareli also trust the prime minister,” Singh told PTI in an interview here.

“So, in such a scenario, I don’t think the Congress candidate will be able to hold his ground before the BJP candidate in Rae Bareli,” he said.

Asked about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra camping in Rae Bareli and campaigning for her brother Rahul, Singh said it could be a topic of discussion for media people who have come from outside but her camping here was a non-issue for the people of Rae Bareli.

“In 2022 assembly polls, she stayed here and asked for votes in every nook and corner, but in all the assembly seats Priyanka Gandhi camped here and ran around, about 16,000 votes were bagged in assembly segments. Is it the same Priyanka Gandhi?” he said, taking a swipe at the Congress general secretary.

“It can be of importance to you but she holds no importance for people of Rae Bareli. She can stay here, it will be very good. She made so many promises in the 2019 polls and till 2024, leave alone fulfilling those promises, she did not even stand with the people in their happy and sad times,” the BJP leader alleged.

Speaking in local dialect, he said, “‘Aaj nikli hain, humka andaza hai kauno gaon bachi na jahan belana liye mahilayein khadi na hui hain, inka swagat kare ke liye’ (I have an idea that when she goes out to the villages, women would welcome her with batons in their hands).”

Singh alleged that the Gandhi family has hatred for Rae Bareli-Amethi and that is why it neither fielded anyone from there in the Lok Sabha polls since 1952 nor sent any native person to Rajya Sabha.

“Rahul Gandhi ji has opened ‘mohabbat ki dukaan’. So much hatred is filled in the Gandhi family’s mind for Amethi-Rae Bareli. From 1952 till now, Gandhi family never gave a Lok Sabha ticket to a person born to a mother from Rae Bareli,” Singh claimed.

No son of Rae Bareli was sent to Rajya Sabha and the Gandhi family did not make anyone from Rae Bareli even an MP’s representative.

“MP’s representatives have also been brought from outside. Today it is before the people. Could only a person brought from Ludhiana who is Priyanka Gandhi’s clerk fight the polls from Amethi? Were there no Congress leaders in Amethi?” he said.

“This hatred that they have for Amethi-Rae Bareli, which manifests itself in ‘we will not give the ticket to a person from Amethi or Rae Bareli but get a person from Delhi or Ludhiana’,” the BJP leader said.

They have “hatred” for Amethi-Rae Bareli in their minds and this time, Amethi-Rae Bareli will give a befitting reply to them, Singh said.

While Rahul Gandhi is contesting the Lok Sabha election from the Rae Bareli seat, Kishori Lal Sharma, a close aide of the Gandhi family, has been fielded from the Amethi seat.

Singh also refuted suggestions that Rae Bareli was an electoral fortress of the Congress.

“Fortress is one which has four-five MLAs, eight block pramukhs, 10 zila panchayat members from the party. The Congress does not have a pradhan or block pramukh, or MLA, MLC, or zila panchayat president,” he said

Singh claimed the Congress doesn’t even have an MP and even though the certificate of MP is with Sonia Gandhi but on the grounds of principles, she is not the MP.

She fought on a Congress ticket but the SP, BSP and Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) faction supported her and she fought as the representative of four parties, Singh claimed.

“If she would have fought just as Congress representative, if you look at my vote, you would find that I would have won one by lakhs against just the Congress candidate Sonia Gandhi,” he argued.

“You can’t imagine the deterioration the Congress has suffered here. In 2019, when I fought the polls, I fought on the scores of 2017 assembly polls. In 2017 the votes of all assembly candidates of Congress was 3,40,000 and I got 3,60,000 votes and now when the Congress score is at 1,40,000 votes in 2022 assembly polls, the Congress has already lost 2 lakh votes,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi does not have the support of the parties that Sonia Gandhi did, so there is no doubt that the number of votes by which Sonia Gandhi won in 2019, Rahul Gandhi will lose by a bigger margin than that, Singh said.

He said it should not be believed that Congress had been unbeatable here as former prime minister Indira Gandhi was defeated from here, post emergency.

“Those who say so do not know the history of Rae Bareli. In Rae Bareli, Indira Gandhi suffered a crushing defeat. Those who say Congress has not lost, they should be told that Rae Bareli is the land of the people who did not let the Britishers occupy the area for a year,” he said.

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