After Amethi, BJP sets eyes on Raebareli

After Amethi, BJP sets eyes on Raebareli

Sources said that the BJP was wooing a few powerful 'Thakur' community leaders and sounding them to contest against Sonia. PTI file photo.

After storming Congress president Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi, the BJP has set its eyes on another Nehru-Gandhi bastion Raebareli, represented in the Lok Sabha by former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

According to sources in the BJP, the saffron party has started scouting for a "local" and "strong" candidate in Raebareli to challenge Sonia, who is likely to contest from there once again in the forthcoming LS polls.

Sources said that the BJP was wooing a few powerful 'Thakur' community leaders and sounding them to contest against Sonia. 

Former Congress member of the UP Legislative Assembly Dinesh Pratap Singh, who had crossed over to the BJP a few months back, was also among the probable from the seat, sources said.

"We have not been able to find a strong candidate, who can challenge Sonia Gandhi," said a senior state BJP leader here.

In 2014 LS polls Sonia had defeated the BJP nominee Ajai Agarwal by a huge margin of 3.53 lakh votes despite there being a 'Modi wave'.

The saffron party, however, got a shot in the arm in the 2017 UP Assembly elections, when it bagged three of the five Assembly seats in Raebareli Lok Sabha constituency. The Congress could win only two.

"We now have a strong organisational base in Raebareli and committed workers...we will perform much better this time and may also cause an upset," the leader added.

Incidentally owing to ill health, Sonia has not been able to visit her constituency as she used to before and on many occasions, her visit had to be cancelled at the last moment.

There also were speculations, especially after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's entry into politics, that Sonia may not contest the Lok Sabha polls this time and that she may take the former Congress president's place. The speculations, however, was rejected by the Congress. 

BJP sources said that its senior leaders would be visiting Raebareli in the next few days to boost the morale of the party workers. Prime minister Narendra Modi had also addressed a public meeting at Raebareli in December last year.

"We are trying to hold another public meeting of the prime minister ahead of the forthcoming LS polls," said an Uttar Pradesh BJP leader on Monday.