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Mayawati to storm Amethi on December 11
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
December 11, 2002 18:54 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati is all set to storm Amethi, political bastion of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Wednesday.
She will address a public rally in Amethi in a bid to take on Gandhi in her own constituency.
The move comes close on the heels of her decision to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat . The idea in Gujarat was to make a visible dent in the dalit votes of the Congress.
Political observers see the move as a manifestation of Mayawati's discomfort over the recent visit of Sonia's daughter Priyanka Vadra to different parts of the Amethi parliamentary constituency. It was Priyanka's decision to take up the cause of a harassed dalit that made Mayawati jittery. Mayawati promptly declared Amethi her destination as soon as Priyanka returned from her three-day trip.
Assisting her in the rally is expelled Congress member of the legislative assembly Akhilesh Singh. The chief minister recently granted Singh a reprieve by revoking the application of the National Security Act on him for his alleged involvement in a murder.
Singh, legislator from Rae Bareli, used to collect big crowds for Congress rallies. His clout will now be used by Mayawati.
According to rumours, the chief minister plans to woo Amethi by declaring it a separate district. The idea is to show residents that she is more concerned about their well-being than any Congress leader, including the late Rajiv Gandhi, who did not make Amethi a district even as prime minister.
Meanwhile, the state machinery is arranging for transport to bring people from the neighbouring rural areas to ensure a big gathering. Reports said that even monetary incentives are being offered to people to make sure they attend the rally.