Amethi: BJP chief Amit Shah's scathing speech at a big rally in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi today was entirely addressed to "Rahul Baba" or Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is the member of Parliament from the constituency, known for years as a stronghold of his party.
Mr Shah reminded the Congress leader of Amethi's loyalty in voting for him and his family for decades, alleging that in return they gave nothing in the way of development to the voters. "I want to ask Rahul Baba, Amethi has voted for three generations of Nehru Gandhis over 70 years, is this the way you show gratitude?" said Amit Shah.
"I want to ask Rahul baba, he has been MP for so long...why is there no Collector's Office in Amethi, no hospital to treat tubercolosis, no FM radio station, no jobs for people," the BJP chief said listing some of the 21 projects that were launched in Amethi today as Mr Shah visited along with union minister Smriti Irani and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
He made a number of jibes at the Congress leader like when he said, "Since being voted to power in 2014, the Modi government has launched 106 welfare schemes for the benefit of all, especially the poor... can Rahul baba not see this? Rahul baba probably doesn't even know how to count till a 106."
Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah, is asking questions on development in BJP-ruled Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held soon. He would answer the Congress leader from Amethi, the BJP chief said, promising that Uttar Pradesh "will now see the kind of development that Gujarat has," with the BJP ruling both at the Centre and the state.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had set a fast pace for development since the BJP swept the state seven months ago, Amit Shah said, calling Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi the "ideal recipe for development."
Cheered by his audience of thousands, Mr Shah asked Amethi to compare the "Nehru-Gandhi model with the Narendra Modi model of development and decide for yourselves." He thanked voters for sending four BJP candidates to the state assembly from the five seats that Amethi has, promising that the BJP would be back to seek votes "not on the basis of promises, but work done."
The visit is seen to signal that the BJP is falsely accused by Rahul Gandhi of "step-motherly treatment" to Amethi because it has voted for the Congress vice-president. On his visit to Amethi last week - prompted by a need, alleged the BJP, to register his presence before Amit Shah's big visit - Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in UP of rehashing and launching a new projects in Amethi already begun by the previous Congress-led government.
He also accused the BJP of shutting down a key food park project in Amethi started by his party, which he claims would have changed the fortunes of the district.
Amethi was one of only two parliament seats of UP's 80 that the Congress could win in 2014; the other was neighbouring Rae Bareli, also a Gandhi family stronghold, from where Congress chief and Rahul Gandhi's mother Sonia Gandhi contested and won. The BJP had won 71 seats and hopes to wrest the two Congress seats too in the next national election in 2019, encouraged by its win of six of the 10 assembly seats in Amethi and Rae Bareli in state elections earlier this year.