Amethi, Nov 15 (IANS) Diwali has confirmed that Amethi in Uttar Pradesh can look forward to a high profile and much awaited face off in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Amethi MP Smriti Irani and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have sent out their festive wishes along with gifts to the voters in Amethi.
Rahul Gandhi represented Amethi in the Lok Sabha three times before he was defeated by BJP’s Smriti Irani in 2019.
According to sources, while Smriti has sent mobile phones, wall clocks and sarees to the residents of Amethi, Rahul has sent pairs of shirt and trousers along with sweets for distribution among the residents in the constituency.
BJP spokesperson in Amethi, Govind Chauhan said the gifts from Smriti were essentially distributed among the socially downtrodden, poor, and physically challenged people.
“We ensured that the gifts reached the needy,” he said, adding that different households were given different gifts.
Chauhan said that the gesture from Smriti was nothing new. “She has been doing selfless public service throughout the year and all festive seasons,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, a video of BJP’s former Amethi president Daya Shankar Yadav has gone viral, in which he can be heard saying that people need to reciprocate the gesture by giving their votes to Smriti Irani, who was like their “didi” and “beti”.
“Agar bahan-beti uphaar bheje to usko liya jata hai… Badle mein aashirwad ke saath kuch na kuch diya jata hai, nahi to paap lagta hai. Agar didi ne hume gift diya hai to humein unko vote dena hai (If a sister and daughter send a gift, we need to take it and then reciprocate by giving her blessings. Otherwise, it is a sin. If Didi has given us gifts, then we should bless her
Chauhan maintained that there was “nothing wrong” in what Yadav said.
“He only meant to say that people should come even closer to Smriti, who works for the people of the constituency round the year,” he said.
The Congress district chief in Amethi, Pradeep Singh, meanwhile, said that the gifts from Rahul were sent to roughly 5,000 households in the constituency.
“He has been sending gifts to the party functionaries of Amethi in the past too. This time, the reach has been extended to more people in the constituency,” Singhal said.
“People of Amethi are like his family and there is nothing wrong with sending gifts to family members on a festival,” he said.
The largesse sent by Smriti Irani and Rahul Gandhi to Amethi during Diwali has stoked fresh speculation of their intention to seek election from the seat.
It may be recalled that about three months ago, UP Congress president Ajay Rai had claimed that the people of Amethi wanted Rahul to contest for the seat in 2024.