After leading from the front in the Gujarat Assembly polls that saw his party improving its show, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is now focusing on Uttar Pradesh to galvanise party cadres in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. First time after donning the mantle of the party chief, Gandhi is all set to pay a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi from tomorrow. Though party workers are excited by his anointment and have planned a grand reception in Amethi, they are aware that the path for their young leader will not be easy in Uttar Pradesh where its electoral foray in the assembly polls had been anything but encouraging. The 47-year-old Congress leader is likely to hold road shows at nearly seven places in Amethi. He will reach Salon via Rae Bareli at around 12.30 pm and address the public at Salon Nagar Panchayat. From Salon, he will proceed to Amethi, and then go to Munshiganj guest house, according to senior UP Congress leader Akhilesh Singh.
On January 16, at around 10.30 am, Rahul is likely to interact with the public at Musafirkhana, and then proceed to Jais, Jagdishpur and Mohanganj. “People of Amethi are quite excited about the visit of Rahul Gandhi. This is the first Amethi visit of Rahul Gandhi after he became the Congress president. People are looking forward to welcome him,” Singh said. Congress spokesman Amar Nath told PTI that the new party president knows the state well. “He has a personal rapport with party leaders and workers in Uttar Pradesh… we are ready to work hard with him in the field,” he said. “The Congress will definitely work out ways and means to galvanise the party in Uttar Pradesh in order to make a big impact in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” he added. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.
In the last assembly elections, the Congress managed to win just seven seats, its lowest ever in the state. But what came as a bigger shock was its dismal show in Amethi and Rae Bareli, which had long been nurtured by the Gandhi family. The Modi wave stormed into Amethi and Rae Bareli, and Congress was routed in eight of the 10 Assembly seats there. The BJP won six seats in Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituencies with two seats going to the Samajwadi Party.
In a major embarrassment to the senior leadership of the party, the Congress could manage victory in only two of the 10 prestigious seats. The party lost all five seats in Amethi, and barely saved face by winning in just two of the five seats in Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituency.