- Local Congress leader has joined BJP ahead of Amit Shah's Amethi visit
- Jang Bahadur Singh accused Mr Gandhi of neglecting development of Amethi
- Amethi has been considered Congress safe seat for decades
The BJP, which rules both at the Centre and in UP, is signaling that it is falsely accused by Rahul Gandhi of "step-motherly treatment" to Amethi because it has voted for the Congress vice-president. To stress the point, a senior local leader of the Congress, Jang Bahadur Singh, joined the BJP on Monday, just a day ahead of the party chief's visit, accusing Mr Gandhi of neglecting the development of Amethi, his constituency for the past 13 years.
"I have decided to join the BJP. The projects which were started earlier have slowed down significantly, thereby generating a sense of agony. However, with the advent of Smriti Irani there has been a visible shift," said Jang Bahadur Singh who was a BSP legislator from Gauriganj, one of the assembly segments in Amethi, from 2003-07 before joining the Samajwadi Party and then the Congress.
Smriti Irani, who is the union minister for textiles and information and broadcasting, had fought the 2014 national election against Mr Gandhi in Amethi, considered a Congress safe seat for decades, and though she lost, she considerably reduced his margin of victory. Since then, she has visited Amethi often, interacting with people and pointing that she is in the constituency more often than its MP, who visited last week after six months.
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 anew projects in Amethi already begun by the previous Congress-led government.
He targeted PM Modi over employment, asking him to create job opportunities instead of "wasting time" and 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.
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