Rahul Gandhi`s relationship with Amethi is nominal: Arun Jaitley

Ahead of Narendra Modi`s rally in the Gandhi family`s pocket borough of Amethi, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the constituency is "ripe" for a strong anti-incumbency against Rahul Gandhi whose relationship with the seat is "nominal".

PTI| Last Updated: May 04, 2014, 20:49 PM IST

New Delhi: Ahead of Narendra Modi`s rally in the Gandhi family`s pocket borough of Amethi, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the constituency is "ripe" for a strong anti-incumbency against Rahul Gandhi whose relationship with the seat is "nominal".
The Congress Vice-President is seeking a hat-trick of victories from the seat but BJP and AAP have perked up the contest by fielding Smriti Irani and Kumar Vishwas from there.

Jaitley said BJP must convince electorate that a vote for AAP will only divide the anti-incumbency votes.

"The relationship of Amethi with its sitting MP is nominal. Despite having been a family stronghold for decades, Amethi remains one of the most backward constituencies... The situation is ripe for a strong anti-incumbency against the sitting MP.

"With a formidable candidate in place and a Modi campaign to back it, Amethi should be ready for a surprise. Amethi can be won by the BJP," the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha wrote on his blog.

Arguing that Gandhi has not done much for the area, he said, "The infrastructure in Amethi is inadequate. It is a constituency where internal roads are not the object of envy. Many industrial units are sick. It is a constituency of people living in inadequate houses."

Contending that it was Amethi`s "tragedy" that the voters were never presented with an alternative option, he said BJP was determined to put up a fight.

He termed Smriti Irani as a "formidable candidate" and claimed that she was getting a good response from people, saying whenever her vehicle reaches any village it is greeted with loud cheers for her, BJP and Modi.

Jaitley also dismissed Gandhi`s assertion yesterday that Congress would not support a Third Front government, saying its earlier track record does not inspire confidence.

"The choice now is clear. It is either a Modi-led NDA or a chaotic coalition. Obviously, a chaotic coalition cannot be an option," he said, stressing that indications are that NDA is heading for a comfortably majority.

Talking about the Rahul Gandhi`s "No" to the "Third Front", Jaitley said, "Rahul Gandhi has categorically said that his party would not support the Third Front. (But) its earlier track record does not inspire confidence in the statement."

He said that CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat has simultaneously said that for a `secular` combination to come in place they will need Congress` support.

"If the NDA gets a majority on its own or is within a striking distance, the Congress need not take the trouble of cooperating with the Third Front. The NDA will then be a reality. These options arise only after there is a hung house," Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said it was unlikely that the Indian electorate this time is going to give a half-hearted mandate.

Speculating over the future policy of Congress, he quipped, "The best case scenario for the Congress is a rag tag coalition to keep Modi out. The choice now is clear. It is either a Modi-led NDA or a chaotic coalition."

"Obviously, a chaotic coalition cannot be an option," he concluded his blog.