Amethi was one of the most backward regions in the country in the 1980s until Rajiv Gandhi decided to enter into politics by serving the poor of the country, he focused on the people living here and worked until 1991 to bring out the change in the lives of the people living here.
In a span of 10 years, Amethi grew on all fronts- agriculture, law and order, health and education, industrialization as well as connectivity, as confirmed by the local people. It is worthwhile to note that the soil here was infertile due to alkalinity but with efforts, the barren lands were transformed into lush green farms with good productivity. Rahul Gandhi has faced much criticism for his leadership from many quarters but not from the constituents of Amethi. Talking to people in Amethi reveals that they believe the only problem with the Gandhi scion is he trusts too easily. And that they say has ruined his image. Whether one believes this fact or not, it is certainly true that Rahul has had a communication barrier at least as far as Amethi. Earlier, KL Sharma was his representative in Amethi. But locals allege that KL Sharma quickly became better known for his bad behaviour, which included insulting people and throwing them out of his office. The same case is with Amethi MP’s current representative Chandrakant Dubey. People say he tries and ensures that the people don’t reach Rahul directly. They have many bad stories about him. Ultimately, they say whatever Dubey does in Amethi will ultimately harm an “honest” and “upright” Rahul. Whether one chooses to believe this fact or not, Congressmen point out that the scion has many good qualities. They say that unlike children of other famous politicians, Rahul does not flaunt his lineage and remains on the whole “balanced and honest”. Unlike other politicians namely like Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul, on the whole, has dealt well with criticism. He has put up even with those who viciously attacked him after the electoral debacle, terming it “internal democracy”. Rahul’s stance can be highlighted better when one compares him to his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Unlike Rahul, Priyanka despite her popularity among people has several questions she needs to answer, namely her husband’s Robert Vadra’s business dealings. The perception has been given that Vadra misused his position as the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it has been wiser for Priyanka to distance herself from the controversy. Instead, her support for Vadra which was a kind of blind support is being seen as an electoral liability.
Post-polls, some member of the Congress feel that Priyanka’s attacks on Modi backfired. Rahul’s balanced tone indicates that they may serve the party better in the long term. Rahul clearly wins the elections out if we compare the Congress vice president with other dynastic politicians. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is just a poor “photocopy” of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. Although the disproportionate case of assets does not haunt the father-son duo any more, the theatrics of the Yadav family wanted to make him the CM of UP in March 2012 was a clear indication that Mulayam has little to offer people outside the family. The young CM is also known for mistreating his cabinet colleagues and journalists more frequently than expected. It’s not just Akhilesh. Jayant Chaudhary, the son of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, is also there to prove the fact that being a young politician doesn’t mean one should be upright. Jayant has fervently supported his father’s bullying style just because they wanted to hold a house in Delhi’s Lutyens’ circuit. He has proved on many occasions that he personally believes that politics means power without showing any sensitivity toward voters. Within the Congress too, Rahul shines. People of Amethi contrast him favourably with Milind Deora. They also remind you of Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief and former CM of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, who has served time behind bars for her alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam. Finally, Rahul’s Amethi voters say that they love him because he hugs them and their children at the cost of annoying his security personnel. He has developed a special mechanism so that a large number of people of Amethi get free treatment for serious ailments in good hospitals of Delhi. But their unfortunate fact is that it’s not the love of people towards Gandhi family or Rahul Gandhi specifically that makes it a bastion and vote for them but the reluctance of parties to put a strong candidate there in Amethi since Rajiv Gandhi poled his flag there in the 70s.
There is a certainly an emotional connect of the voters who have been in Amethi since Rajiv era but if you look closely on the voting pattern in Amethi you’d realize that the Gandhi family enjoys power because of only 25-30% of Amethi’s population and to some extent due their deep-rooted goons or agents who help in rigging and make sure that people remain uneducated and vote for Congress only. Past few elections suggest that the voter turnout during elections has been as low as 35-45% and on their best days Gandhi’s have received as high as 70% margin making it only 30% of total population. The rest population have either given up voting due to lack of strong candidates or simply given up on the system.