For Rahul's way to LS, Raja of Amethi Cong's RS nominee

Congress may have removed a major obstacle in vice president Rahul Gandhi’s way in Amethi by nominating the Raja of Amethi, Sanjay Singh to Rajya Sabha from Assam, but there could be more hindrances in the offing.

The sources here said the Samajwadi Party was contemplating to field its nominee from Amethi Lok Sabha seat in the parliamentary elections. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the party did not field its nominees in Amethi and Rae Bareili.

It has not yet declared its candidates from the two constituencies this time.

BJP too is said to be looking for a strong candidate from the seat amid report that party’s general secretary Varun Gandhi is all set to contest from the neighbouring Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat this time.

Sources in the party said UP minister Gayatri Prajapati, an MLA from Amethi Assembly constituency, could be fielded against Rahul. Prajapati is also said to have launched his election campaign in the constituency.

Prajapati had defeated Sanjay Singh’s wife and the then Congress legislator Amita Singh from the seat in a multi-cornered contest, surprising the poll pundits.

Gayatri Prajapati, who was minister of state (independent charge) for mining, was elevated to the cabinet rank in the recent cabinet expansion. Prajapati, who hails from a backward caste, wields considerable influence in Amethi over the Backward Community voters.

AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who has declared that he will contest against Rahul from Amethi, has termed Sanjay Singh’s nomination from Assam for Rajya Sabha as reflective of the ‘prevailing fear’ in the Congress.

Vishwas has been campaigning in Amethi for the past 10 days and plans to cover the entire constituency. A dedicated team of AAP workers was also with him to mobilise crowds and local support.

However, local Congress leaders feel that Sanjay Singh’s exclusion from electoral equations will certainly help the party.

“Singh was planning to contest from Amethi on BJP ticket. He could have proved to be a strong adversary,” said a Congress leader.

The leader admitted that Prajapati could also turn out to be a tough contender but expressed confidence that SP would not field its candidate from the seat or ‘at best go for a friendly fight’.

Rahul had romped home from Amethi by over 3,65,000 votes in 2009 general elections. He had secured over 4.64 lakh votes while his nearest rival Ashish Shukla of the BSP could get a little less than one lakh votes.

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