Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who began his two-day tour of Amethi on Wednesday, had his cavalcade greeted by Aam Aadmi Party workers waving black flags and shouting anti-Congress slogans. He was accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
This is Mr. Gandhi’s first visit to his constituency since the AAP declared that its Kumar Vishwas would battle it out with Mr. Gandhi in Amethi in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Mr. Vishwas, who has been actively campaigning in Amethi, said old issues were being raised as part of a political conspiracy against him. “If Congress feel that by raising such issues they will stop the AAP, they are wrong,” he said.
A 2008 video which shows Mr. Vishwas making racist and sexist remarks against nurses from Kerala, has gone viral on social media sparking protests and political uproar.
Mr. Gandhi was scheduled to meet party workers and review progress of Centrally-sponsored welfare schemes like the MGNREGA and NRHM. He is scheduled to host an open interactive session with party workers on Thursday. Surprise visits to certain villages may also be on the card.
According to AAP sources, Mr. Vishwas regularly holds meetings with party workers and tours villages in the area. He plans to engage more with gram panchayats and highlight “false promises” made by the Congress, said a source. The AAP is also planning to stage a jan sabha (public meeting) in the constituency on January 27 or 28.
Mr. Vishwas, who says he will fight the election on the issue of Amethi’s poor infrastructure, has been urging voters to dump dynasty politics.
Last week Mr. Vishwas even paid a visit to the same Dalit house Mr. Gandhi visited in 2008.
Mr. Gandhi’s visit to Amethi was postponed earlier this month due to poor weather conditions.
He was scheduled to inaugurate nine branches of the State Bank of India and an FM radio station, and also address his supporters at the Ramlila Ground, where the AAP held its first rally.
Congress spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi dismissed speculations that Mr. Gandhi’s earlier visit was postponed due to the AAP’s rally the following day.