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With Rahul not contesting from Amethi, BJP and Congress chalk out fresh strategy

BJP candidate Smriti Irani, who had been launching attacks on former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi during her campaign in Amethi, has now changed gear.

SmritiLUCKNOW: After KL Sharma was announced as the Congress candidate from Amethi instead of Rahul Gandhi, both the BJP and Congress have gone back to the drawing board to chalk out their strategy afresh.

BJP candidate Smriti Irani, who had been launching attacks on Rahul during her campaign in Amethi, has now changed gear.

BJP sources in Amethi said Smriti Irani’s team is now focusing more on door-to-door campaigning in a bid to reach out to people to explain the benefits of welfare schemes of the central government delivered in the constituency. The saffron brigade, with an eye on each and every voter, has deployed ‘Panna Pramukhs’ allocating each a certain number of voters to focus on and convince them to vote in favour of the ‘lotus’.

Moreover, the party has also deployed teams of the Mahila Morcha (women’s wing) and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (youth wing) to hold mass contact drives among women and youth of the constituency, respectively. Even the party’s social media team is working round the clock.

On the other hand, the Congress has appointed former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot to oversee the party’s campaign in Amethi. The party has planned at least 20 street meetings daily covering at least 500 villages till May 18.

Moreover, the party is planning to organise a joint rally with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in the constituency in the near future. According to sources, the party is drawing up a strategy akin to what was planned for former AICC chief Sonia Gandhi when she was contesting from Amethi in 1999.

Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is camping in Rae Bareli and overseeing the Amethi campaign as well till the end of campaigning on May 18.

Addressing party workers at Rae Bareli’s Bhuyemau guest house late on Monday evening, Priyanka said she was there for the election of her elder brother Rahul Gandhi and friend KL Sharma. She exhorted party workers to put a sturdy fight promising them that she would be there shoulder-to-shoulder with them.

“If anyone wants to step back due to fear, this is the time to do so because I will not allow you to retract after this. We must fight together and ensure victory in both Rae Bareli and Amethi,” said Priyanka.

The Congress general secretary said Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were arrested by the British in an agitation of farmers in Rae Bareli. “This is the election of Rahul Bhaiya. This is very personal for us. This place (Rae Bareli) will send a message to the entire country. This is the fortress that the BJP failed to breach in the 2019 polls and this is the fortress you defended,” she said.

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