Amethi (Uttar Pradesh): BJP's coup de maître fielding Garima Singh, the estranged first wife of Sanjay Singh, might turn the fight for the prestigious Amethi Assembly seat into a 'rani versus rani' affair with the Congress leader's present wife Ameeta deciding to throw her hat in the ring. BJP fielded Garima from Amethi, ostensibly to reap the sympathy for her and redeem her name and position in the royal family.
Samajwadi Party, which got the seat under a seat sharing arrangement with Congress, gave ticket to sitting MLA and controversial leader Gayatri Prajapati in the Congress bastion, leaving Amita in the lurch. Amita, however, is in no mood to relent and has let it known to her party leadership that she has worked hard for so long and will not quit the fray.
"Amethi is my family and my home and I cannot leave it...I will contest from here," she said, adding that she had been working hard among the electorate since long and was on a very strong footing.
"I have talked to senior Congress leaders and told them about the ground reality here and have requested them to do the needful as the seat also falls in the parliamentary constituency of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi," she said.
Amita minced no words in condemning BJP for putting up Garima from Amethi. "BJP has resorted to petty politics leaving seniors out and giving ticket to someone who has no recognition in the region...people here have neither seen her nor has she seen them for years," she said.
"I do not have any worry...all this is BJP's politics after it played the dirty game of snatching the IIIT and Paper Mill (from Amethi)," she said, adding its candidate has no experience in politics nor has ever come in public glare.
Garima (60) will be making her first political venture in the Assembly polls.
She was in news when she returned to the family's Bhupati Bhawan palace in Amethi in July, 2014 along with her son Anant Vikram and daughters Mahima and Shaivya, and camped in one portion of the palace for days.
She had also got involved in a bitter battle for control over the family fortunes against Sanjay Singh and his second wife Amita. Even as Congress preferred to stay out of the family feud, BJP fished in troubled waters by reportedly reaching out to the family in 2016 following which Anant Vikram and his sister Mahima joined the party.
The saffron party has put its bet on Garima for a bigger battle in 2019 when the party plans to cause a major upset against Rahul Gandhi for which Union minister Smriti Irani is also working hard.
Despite losing to the three-term Congress MP, Irani has not severed ties with Amethi and is a regular visitor.
Irani had dented Rahul's victory margin giving BJP hopes that it could make a foray in the Congress stronghold.
Garima happens to be the niece of former PM VP Singh and is a descendant of the royal family of Daiya and enjoys fair amount of support among locals despite her prolonged absence.
According to locals, the family feud notwithstanding, caste equations in the area favour Prajapati, a backward who has worked hard to carve out a niche for himself in state politics.
Polling for the seat is scheduled in Phase-5 on February 27.
Updated Date: Jan 24, 2017 12:45 PM