Irani had, however, reduced Gandhi’s victory margin to about 100,000 votes, a massive dip from the win margin of about 370,000 and 290,000 votes in the 2004 and 2009 general elections, respectively. Over the past three-and-a-half years, she has built a bond with the constituency with her regular visits.
Meanwhile, even before Shah could arrive in Amethi, the Congress had already received a severe jolt last week, when Gandhi family loyalist, UP Congress general secretary and former Congress legislator from Gauriganj (Amethi) Jung Bahadur Singh resigned from the party. He is set to join BJP now.
In fact, there are speculations that several other Congress leaders, including members of the minority community, would also join BJP along with him. Leaders from other parties are also said to be getting cosy with the saffron party in the run-up to the 2019 LS poll.
Rahul Gandhi had also recently wrapped up his three-day visit to Amethi last week, in which he had mounted a scathing attack on the BJP governments at the centre and the state.
In preparing for the parliamentary election, BJP is steadfastly focusing on the 7 LS seats of the total 80 constituencies in UP, where the party or its ally (Apna Dal) had lost to Samajwadi Party (SP) or Congress. These constituencies include Amethi (Rahul Gandhi) and Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi) won by the Congress.
The other five remaining seats were won by SP viz. Azamgarh (Mulayam Singh Yadav), Mainpuri (Mulayam, later his grandnephew Tej Pratap Yadav had won the bypoll), Kannauj (Dimple Yadav), Badaun (Dharmendra Yadav) and Ferozabad (Akshay Yadav). All these belong to the extended Yadav family.
On July 29, when Amit Shah
had last visited Lucknow, three sitting members of legislative council (MLC) had resigned from their seats. Of these, two belonged to SP (Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh), while another Jaiveer Singh was a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member. Later, three more legislators viz. Ashok Bajpai and Sarojini Agarwal (both SP) and Ambika Chaudhary (BSP) had also resigned. Barring Chaudhary, all the five MLCs have already joined BJP.