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BJP may field Cong’s Sanjay against Rahul

Sanjay Singh belongs to the royal family which once ruled Amethi and is the Congress MP from Sultanpur.

Deepak Bajpai  New Delhi | 16th Nov 2013

Sanjay Singh

he Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to field Congress leader Sanjay Singh to take on Rahul Gandhi in the latter's Amethi constituency ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Sanjay Singh belongs to the royal family which once ruled Amethi and is the Congress MP from neighbouring Sultanpur. The BJP may shift Varun Gandhi to Sultanpur from Pilibhit.

Sanjay Singh addressed a function on his birthday on Tuesday in Amethi, where he criticised the Gandhi family for "neglecting" Amethi. He also said that the people of Amethi would soon see a "change". Sanjay Singh's wife Amita Singh also attacked the Gandhis in her address, saying Amethi did not see any development despite Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi representing the constituency. No senior BJP leader was present at the function. Only former BJP MLA, Tejbhan Singh, former UP minister from Ramlakhan Pasi of the BJP, Rajesh Agrahari of the Samajwadi Party and former Congress MLA Rajshree Devi were present.

Congress strategists are taking Sanjay Singh's utterances seriously and are preparing a contingency plan.

Top BJP leaders in Delhi claim that Sanjay Singh is in touch with the BJP and is bargaining his second entry into the saffron party. Sources claim that Sanjay Singh has agreed to contest against Rahul Gandhi, but he wants the assurance of a Rajya Sabha seat if he loses the election.

The BJP is excited about the idea. BJP strategists claim that the Congress base in Amethi is depleting. The party lost all the Assembly seats in the area to the Samajwadi Party in the 2012 elections, including that of Sanjay Singh's wife Amita.

The BJP also understands that the SP's "support" will be crucial for both parties in Amethi. SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has already said that his party would not field any candidates from Amethi and Rae Bareli against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi respectively. The assurance came after the Congress decided not to field a candidate from Kannauj against Mulaym Singh's daughter-in-law Dimple. The BJP claims that this favours it as it will mean a direct contest between Rahul Gandhi and Sanjay Singh.

"Sanjay Singh's nomination from Amethi will be a master stroke, which will unnerve the Congress," claimed a senior BJP leader. Sanjay Singh is capable of giving him a tough fight, he said. The party thinks that this will ensure that the Congress divert its energies and resources to Amethi to pull off a spectacular victory for Rahul Gandhi. This will also deflect Rahul's attention in the crucial election. And if Sanjay Singh manages to defeat Rahul, it'll be the biggest political coup in recent past, he said.

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