Rahul will lose heavily in Amethi: Kumar Vishwas (Election Special)
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will lose "by a big margin" in the Lok Sabha polls here, AAP leader and candidate Kumar Vishwas says.
The Arvind Kejriwal associate also said in an interview that the biggest losers of the election in Uttar Pradesh will be, besides the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the now ruling Samajwadi Party.
Saying a "historic campaign" was under way in Amethi, Kumar Vishwas said his confidence about his own victory and Gandhi's defeat came from numerous interactions with voters, mainly in rural pockets.
"I am confident Rahul Gandhi will not only lose but will lose by a big margin."
He said that until the advent of the Aam Aadmi Party, none of the existing political parties really challenged the Gandhi family in Amethi.
Although the Gandhi family has represented Amethi in the Lok Sabha for decades, Kumar Vishwas insisted that poverty was widespread in the sprawling constituency and Amethi lagged behind in economic development.
"The issues in Amethi concern development. There is a place called Shankarganj which has a half-built bridge. It has not been completed for the past seven years."
Amethi has elected to the Lok Sabha members of the Gandhi family since 1980. They include Sanjay Gandhi (1980), Rajiv Gandhi (1984, 1989), Sonia Gandhi (1999) and Rahul Gandhi (2004, 2009).
Gandhi family loyalist Satish Sharma was elected in 1991 and 1996. The Bharatiya Janata Party's Sanjay Singh snatched it in 1998. He later joined the Congress.
Having launched his campaign even before the Lok Sabha election was announced, Kumar Vishwas said he often walked on Amethi's roads and spent the night in different villages.
"I go to villages and stay at night wherever it gets dark. The next morning I start for another village. The route is chalked out by people of the villages.
"I talk to people in their local dialect in Awadhi. The language barrier is not there, and this helps me to connect with people.
"The people here tell me that no one has ever come to meet them in Amethi. They are overwhelmed... The biggest connect is with women and children."
A poet whose writings have courted him controversy, Kumar Vishwas is a founder member of the Aam Aadmi Party and considered close to former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
He said he been attacked four times while campaigning. But these have abated.
How many seats will the AAP win in Uttar Pradesh?
Kumar Vishwas avoided a direct answer but said "we are fighting to our best abilities and I can say we are going to win seats in large numbers.
"I feel the Congress will lose on all the seats (in the state) it holds. I don't think it can even win one or two seats from Uttar Pradesh."
Is there a Narendra Modi wave?
"The way Modi is pursuing the campaign and spending a large sum of money, it has increased his visibility a lot.
"The main opponents to the Congress are the AAP and BJP. The biggest loss in these elections will be to Samajwadi Party and the BSP."
(Deepa Rana can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 17-03-2014)