The stage is set for the mother of all battles in Amethi, which is going to the polls on Wednesday. With campaigning for the high-profile contest coming to an end at 5 pm on Monday, both the BJP and Congress have lined up their arsenal in full force for a fight to finish. While BJP’s charge will be led by its PM candidate Narendra Modi, Congress will have Priyanka Gandhi leading from the forefront.
While Modi is defying tradition to storm into the constituency of his chief rival, Congress insiders say that even party chief Sonia Gandhi might join her razing army on the front on Monday to give the prospects of her son one last push.
The Aam Aadmi Party, too, will have its star campaigners bolstering the campaign of Kumar Vishwas which, of late, has got mired in the tangle of attacks and FIRs.
Even BJP top brass in the state was taken unawares when word reached them on Friday evening about Modi’s rally right in Amethi. When TOI reached the rally ground on Saturday, top state BJP leaders were found running around to make arrangements.
“It’s a big battle and neither side wants to yield even an inch,” was the feeling among party workers in both Congress and BJP camps. They admit that the fact that Modi chose to take the battle right into Rahul’s territory shows the intensity of the fight as it is an accepted norm that top leaders do not generally campaign in territories of their main rivals.
With reports trickling in from Amethi — a Gandhi pocket borough since 1967 with only two occasions when the Congress lost it — that the bastion was showing signs of chinks, this could be BJP’s way to prise open the giant door. Modi’s rally in Amethi is slated around 3.30 pm, barely making it before the EC code puts a clamp on campaigning.
Although the Congress camp is trying its best not to send out any signs of distress over the close battle, the valiant attempt that the family has put in this time in the constituency, which has mostly been a walkover in the past, is everybody to see.
Rahul, after spending two days in the constituency, finished it off with two back to back road shows in Jayas and Salon to establish a one last-minute connect with his constituency. He will be in UP on Monday but hold rallies in Phulpur, Allahabad and Gonda for the candidates which are considered to be on stronger wickets. So, it will be left to Priyanka to single-handedly rebut Modi’s attack. An unofficial chief poll manager for both her mother and brother in adjacent constituencies, she will remain in Amethi and handle both the front and back-end of poll preparedness. Incidentally, she will also the chief poll manager for Rahul on the polling day, marshalling booths across the constituency.