The BJP will snatch Rae Bareli too in the next Lok Sabha elections, declared Union minister Smriti Irani in Uttar Pradesh while she was visiting her constituency Amethi – where the BJP leader proved to be a giant slayer when she beat Rahul Gandhi during the 2019 general elections.
Irani, who began her three-day Amethi tour on Friday, made a quick visit to Rae Bareli, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency since 2004.
The minister had also visited Lucknow for a meeting with chief minister Yogi Adityanath before heading back to her constituency to make the statement about “wresting Rae Bareli”.
“Remember, if you continue to harass BJP workers, then in 2024 we will snatch Rae Bareli, too,” Smriti said at a public meeting.
Keeping up the attack on the Gandhi family, Irani dared Rahul Gandhi for a debate on the farmers’ issue and raised questions about Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s proposed Kisan Yatra in UP, describing it as a stunt.
The union minister for textiles and women and child development also tagged a tweet by BJP chief JP Nadda to question Rahul Gandhi’s opposition to farm laws. She tweeted that Amethi’s farmers, fed up with the Congress, voted for the BJP in the last Lok Sabha polls.
The farmers, camping on the Delhi borders for a month, have been demanding a total repeal of the new reforms-oriented laws that provide for setting up of private markets outside of designated mandis, allow contract farming without government regulation and also lift stockholding limits for farm produce.
The Congress termed Irani’s statement as political posturing. Local BJP leaders said her statement reflected it had the backing of the top party leadership.
Congress lawmaker Deepak Singh, who hails from Amethi, released a letter to Smriti Irani, seeking her response to five queries that included charges against her family.
“Unless you respond to these queries, it would be presumed that all the charges against you are true,” Deepak Singh wrote to Smriti.
The Congress MLC had previously described Smriti as a “political tourist” in Amethi.
The union minister also spoke of projects rolled out for Amethi since she became the local MP in 2019 but party leaders said that the Yogi Adityanath government had sanctioned big ticket projects for Rae Bareli, too.
Apart from AIIMS-Rae Bareli, the Ganga Expressway, which would connect Meerut to Prayagraj, will pass through Rae Bareli. Pacts with private investors for fabricators and feeder factory for rail coach, a spice park for research on mint have been sanctioned for the only surviving Congress bastion in the state, party leaders said.
This was evident when deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who also heads state’s public works department (PWD), dedicated schemes worth Rs 79.5 crore for Amethi even as Smriti Irani pushed for more roads worth Rs 112 crore for her constituency.
After Amethi, Maurya visited the Bachhrawan assembly segment, part of Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency, and announced schemes worth several crore rupees. This assembly segment was won by the BJP in 2017 polls.
The minister ended her visit by listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme Mann ki Baat in the Salon assembly segment of Rae Bareli. Like Bachhrawan, Salon too was won by the BJP. Of the five assembly segments that make up Rae Bareli, the BJP had won three in the 2017 UP polls before Smriti Irani’s impressive victory in Amethi two years later.