Amethi। Rahul Gandhi lost in congress bastion as Amethi voted against the party after 39 years.
Rahul, who was elected three times consecutively from the constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2014, lost this time by over 55,000 votes.
It might come as a shocker for the Congress party but for locals it was obvious. So what exactly went wrong for Congress?
Lack of presence
“Why will anyone vote for such a person who does not visit the people of his constituency,” posed Surendra Singh, a resident of Buraulia in Amethi, while referring to Rahul.
He said the Congress chief had visited Buraulia three years ago and did not visit here even in the election season.
Significantly, Rahul was conspicuous by his absence even during the day of polling in the constituency while his rival Irani was active.
Vishun Kumar Singh, a resident of the Nara village, said the virtual absence of Rahul and Priyanka from Amethi during the elections had hurt them badly.
“Earlier Priyanka Gandhi used to camp in Amethi and Rae Bareli and would take care of the campaigning. But this time, both of them were busy in campaigning in other parts of the state,” he said.
“In their absence, the campaign carried out by the local leaders hardly generated any buzz among the people,” Singh said.
Weak organizational setup
According to a local Congress leader Rakesh Singh, the party was very weak in Amethi organisationally as compared to the BJP.
“Had we not been weak, we would not have lost four out of five Assembly seats of Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in the 2017 Assembly polls,” he said.
He said turncoats and BJP’s four MLAs brought votes for their party in Amethi, making a huge dent in the Congress votes.
Caste equation was in favor of the Saffron party as local leader Chandra Prakash Mishra joined BJP. He is believed to have good command on the backward and Dalit votes in Amethi, they constitute about 58 per cent of the total population of Amethi, while Thakurs and Brahmins constitute over 26 per cent and Muslims for over 16 per cent. Chandra Prakash Mishra had contested against Rahul Gandhi in 2004 as BSP candidate and got close to 1 lakh votes.
Local congress leaders quit in last 5 years
Many Local Congress leaders chose to quit Congress in last 5 years. Most of them joined BJP. Leaders from other party also joined BJP, which makes the saffron party even stronger. On the other hand several Congress leaders leaving the party made things worse for the Congress.
Jang Bahadur Singh from Congress, Dhiru Tripathi form Congress and then SP, ex-Samajwadi Party MLA Gajadhar Singh, former Congress and BSP leader Ashish Tripathi, SP leader Rajesh Masala and ex BSP leader Sriram Krantikari joined BJP.
From Salon assembly constituency, the Congress’s forward face and former MLC Dinesh Pratap Singh has switched sides to the BJP and contested against Sonia Gandhi.
Failure of Local Congress leader
Farman Haider, a local resident of Musafirkhana constituency on the other hand blamed the local Congress leaders for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in Amethi.
He said that the local leaders like Amethi Congress President Yogendra Mishra, Deepak Singh and Chandrakant Dubey did not allow Rahul Gandhi to connect with the people.
“If he is not allowed to interact with the people of Amethi then how will he come to know about the problems of the people,” Haider rued.
Lack of development work
Surendra Singh, another resident of Burualia, the village which was adopted by former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, said that the Congress chief must introspect why the people did not vote for him this time.
He said, “The roads in his area, scholarships to the students and youths, Kendriya Vidyalaya centre and several schemes brought by Irani in Amethi helped her connect with the masses, especially the youth.”
Pointing towards the number of visits of Irani in Amethi and Rahul Gandhi, Singh said, “Even after losing in 2014, Smriti Irani) came to Amethi for over 35 times. She met people personally. And when they went to Delhi, she also remembered their names, while Rahul Gandhi visited for over 15-16 times. Also the local BJP leaders acted as a bridge between Irani and the people of Amethi to fulfill their demands.
Ashok Singh said that Didi helped people in their testing times. Like when the houses or crops of people or farmers were destroyed in natural calamities she immediately sent help to those families.
Gyan Pratap Singh, owner of the Alok Dhaba, said that Irani has personally connected with the people of Amethi.
For instance, she has personally got over 50,000 people covered under a central government life insurance scheme, besides ensuring benefits under various other initiatives.
with IANS input