In Uttar Pradesh, A is for Amethi.
So what do you know about Amethi apart from the fact that its a ‘pocket borough’, as newspapers keep calling it, of the Nehru-Gandhi family?
Do you know that actually, in fact, the Amethi region is divided into 5 assembly constituencies? Gauriganj, Tiloi, Amethi, Jagdishpur, Salon.
In 2007, here’s how the Congress fared in the region which has sent a Gandhi to Parliament for decades and is the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi,
Gauriganj – The sitting Gauriganj MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) is Chandra Prakash Mishra from the BSP. He beat the Congress candidate Mohammad Naeem by 5,000 votes in the last polls but Mohammed Naeem has just been declared as the Congress candidate once again. Naeem has promised Priyanka Gandhi, who announced his name yesterday even before the official lists came out – dispelling rumours that Manoj Mattoo, a retired wing commander of the Indian Air Force will be given the seat to contest – that he will win the seat this time.
Tiloi – The MLA here is Mayankeshwar Singh of the Samajwadi Party (SP) who tipped out the Congress’ Mohammed Muslim by only 157 votes last time. So this is seat the Congress will be hoping to win this time.
Jagdishpur – It’s a seat that Ram Sewak Dhobi, a devoted and unassuming 9-time MLA, now 90 years old, has been nurturing for decades. With his request, the seat has been given to his grandson Radhey Shyam to fight. The Congress will be hoping that this is a guaranteed win. Ram Sewak was known to campaign by saying, ‘I have come for your clothes, not (just) your votes’ and continued as dhobi even as an MLA.
Amethi – This has successful but deeply divisive MLA Amita Singh who used to be with the BJP and is now with the Congress. She won last time but caused a lot of bitterness by bringing along many of her old BJP supporters among Congress ranks. In fact, the quarrel about her caused Priyanka Gandhi to walk out for sometime public meeting yesterday at the Munshiganj guest house, usual hub of visiting family members.
Salon (pronounced Salan) – A seat the Congress won last time with its candidate Shiv Balak Pasi.
So 3/5 for the Congress in Amethi at this point in time, and they will be desperately wanting a clean sweep.