Amethi to seal Gandhi's fate today

Amethi to seal Gandhi

Amethi to Seal Gandhi\'s Fate Today. It is hardly an advertisement for the Congress that has positioned itself as the champion of the poor.

Amethi: At a shabby government health centre in Amethi, the rural bastion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, mothers cradling sick babies sidestep dogs sleeping in unlit corridors.

Amethi to seal Gandhis' fate todayThere is no power, there are no nurses on duty and only two doctors - one suffering from a crippling neurological disease - trying to treat 60 to 70 patients a day in sweltering heat.

Few places in India illustrate more clearly how loyalists' support for the ruling Congress party, and the Gandhi family that leads it, has been tested than Amethi, its traditional stronghold around 300 miles southeast of Delhi.
The Congress, which is led by Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, has lost the Amethi parliamentary election only twice.
"We are with the Congress party, we have always been from the time of our forefathers," said Arun Sharma, a local barber. "But we are not happy. Rahul just comes and waves from his car, and goes away."
Congress leaders disagree, and counter that to a large extent, Rahul's hands are tied.
They say that Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which governs Uttar Pradesh, a state of 200 million people CONVERT TO CRORES, has largely failed to build roads and deliver power, and ignored lobbying efforts by the Gandhis to secure better amenities for Amethi.
"These health centres and schools - these are the responsibility of the state government," said Rita Bahuguna Joshi, former head of the state unit of Congress and now running on a party ticket from Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh.
"It is the non-cooperation of successive governments that has been the problem. Rahul makes every effort, but they don't implement them. They want to show him in a poor light."
The BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, senses victory in the five-week election that ends next week, and just before campaigning ended in Amethi, he flew in to address a large rally where he unbuckled trademark scathing remarks against the Gandhi family on its home turf in a bid to weaken it.
"You didn't ask for Mercedes cars, you didn't ask to go to America, all you asked for was drinking water, jobs for your children," he said in his speech. "But the mother and son couldn't be bothered," he said.
The BJP has put up actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani to run against him in Amethi. In the past, the opposition would tend to field weak candidates, signalling the futility of the exercise.
Now, youths wearing saffron-coloured BJP headbands roam the area on motorbikes shouting slogans in support of Mr Modi, a rare sight in a constituency where the Congress party flag was the only one visible for years.
Scattered among Amethi's wheat fields stand shuttered cement plants that Rahul's father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated. Many schools lack teachers and seven out of 10 homes have no toilet.
Sharma, the barber, quit his job at a factory making car windshield wipers because he was earning only 70 rupees a day, less than the minimum wage.
Abdul Ansari, who had come to the barber shop, said his extended family had 20 children and none of them had received an education because the government school had closed.
They could not afford the dozens of private schools that had opened up, some of them in garages.
"The children are on the streets all day, doing nothing."
It is hardly an advertisement for the Congress that has positioned itself as the champion of the poor.
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