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The gloves are off as Priyanka Gandhi bats for Rahul and Sonia in Amethi, Rae Bareli

In the Bhaiya Vs Didi battle in Amethi, the gloves are off as far as Priyanka Gandhi and Smriti Irani are concerned.

, ET Bureau|
May 03, 2019, 07.17 PM IST
Priyanka held a massive road show in Amethi earlier this week on Wednesday, triggering the attack on dynasty by Irani.
It is a Priyanka Gandhi show in Amethi and Rae Bareli as she is batting for her brother and mother in these Gandhi family bastions, taking the lead in campaigning and political attacks.

In the Bhaiya Vs Didi battle in Amethi, the gloves are off as far as Priyanka Gandhi and Smriti Irani are concerned. Priyanka or Rahul Gandhi never name Smriti but Priyanka is now asking voters what will happen of the "BJP candidate" after she loses again and Rahul becomes the Prime Minister.

Irani is pulling no punches either, asking what Priyanka has to show as an achievement "besides her nose" and is slamming Rahul Gandhi as a "Lapata Sansad" (Missing MP). While campaigning in Amethi's Brahmani village, she said the Congress is mistaken that Amethi is its gadh (bastion) as Amethi only has gadde (potholes).

Priyanka held a massive road show in Amethi earlier this week on Wednesday, triggering the attack on dynasty by Irani. "BJP calls it vanshvaad, but it is people's love for my family," Priyanka said at public meetings . She also attacked Irani for "insulting" the voters of Amethi by distributing shoes to them and sending money to the gram pradhans.

On the ground in Amethi the sentiment for Rahul Gandhi is still strong. Paintings and posters on the walls proudly proclaim, "Amethi's MP to be PM in 2019". While the BJP harps on the lack of development in Amethi, Congress has continuously pitched to voters here that they are voting for the next PM. "My brother will prove to be a good PM. He is a good man," Priyanka told the crowd repeatedly.

Irani's focus has been firmly on development and Narendra Modi. "Who built two lakh toilets in Amethi? Modi. Who gave 1.5 lakh families here gas cylinders? Modi. Then whom should your vote go to? Obviously, Modi," she says at Brahmani village. Irani's speeches also paint this fight in Amethi as one between "poor people of Amethi vs their Missing MP for the last 15 years, ".she said.

Congress says they are assured of a massive win for Rahul and that his victory margin will be higher than that of 2014.. "Irani will lose her deposit from Amethi this time," says UP Congress spokesman, Akhilesh Pratap Singh. He says the way Irani is attacking Priyanka through edited videos shows the former's desperation.

Irani responded in her speech: "Congress is in a wonderland in Amethi. Its bubble will burst."
Sonia Gandhi has hardly been to Rae Bareli in the last five years because of her ill-health.. She campaigned for the first time there on Thursday and spoke for just four minutes, letting Priyanka Gandhi take the lead.

Yet on the streets of Rae Bareli, Sonia remains a popular choice and partymen are confident she will again poll over 5 lakh votes, like she did in 2014. "Your vote on May 6 is your biggest weapon to teach a lesson to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his false promises and jumlas. All you people of Rae Bareli live in my heart -- all projects started by me here have been deliberately stopped by the BJP government," Sonia said

The BJP has poached and fielded here an old Congress hand and the only MLC of the Congress in UP, Dinesh Pratap Singh, who is being branded by the Congress as a "back-stabber". "This man when in the Congress used to fall at my feet, call me his sister and say he will always remain with the Congress. A person who wasn't loyal to his party, leader or ideology, how will he be loyal to the people,?" Priyanka said at the rally..

Despite Singh's image as strongman -- his residence 'Panchvati' being a important political adda and his brother Rakesh Singh being a Congress MLA from a seat in the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency -- nothing seems to be clicking. Instead, the Gandhis complaint that their projects in Rae Bareli have been stalled by the BJP government finds resonance among people. "Sonia ji brought the AIIMS project here but BJP has stopped it -- only the OPD has started so far. Many overbridges and roads are incomplete at the behest of the BJP government. We need our own government to be formed in Delhi to complete these projects. Sonia ji has been an MP who is devoted to you fully," Priyanka said.

The Congress campaign in Rae Bareli is also a lot about national issues with Priyanka raising matters like the stray cattle issue, saying a PM who speaks about protecting the country has been unable to protect the fields of the farmers from stray cattle in UP. Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said PM Modi had let the state exchequer be looted by industrialists and big businessmen whose loans have been waived. In what has been their trusted family borough across elections , one can't see much beyond the Gandhis.

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