New Delhi, Jan. 13: Rahul Gandhi will show British foreign secretary David Miliband around Amethi in the first such visit by a high-ranking foreign politician to his constituency.
Rahul and Miliband will be in the Uttar Pradesh town for two days from tomorrow noon, with 15 British foreign ministry officials and a TV crew. The idea, said Congress sources, is to let Miliband get a view of rural India up close.
Miliband, who has known Rahul for some time, apparently told him when they last met in London that he wished to see development work in villages. He was invited to Amethi, where the Congress general secretary has launched several schemes through the Rajiv Gandhi charitable trust. These include self-help groups of women, micro-finance projects, literacy and health plans.
The entourage will be put up at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital guesthouse in Munshiganj, a village close to Amethi where the Gandhis always stay when they visit their constituencies. The guesthouse has 25 well-furnished rooms, with back-up infrastructure and staff. Sources said the chefs, used to serving the Gandhis for years, were adept at all kinds of cuisine, including western dishes, though Rahul and mother Sonia were known to like rotis, sabzi and arhar daal prepared the Indian Hindustani way, or Kashmiri food. An Uttar Pradesh Congress source suggested Milibands team would be well looked after. Theres no problem on this front.
The Gandhis have been loath to hype up Milibands visit. But the event, as the Congresss eager-beavers called the trip, has created a buzz on what it means for Rahuls projection ahead of the Lok Sabha polls this summer.
Last week, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee resurrected the discourse on Rahul as PM, saying the Congress general secretary would follow (in) the footsteps of his father, who became Prime Minister at a young age.
The reactions from party spokespersons that followed the remark, made during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Chennai, mostly stressed the need for a youthful leader for those below 25 years of age, a section that makes up 55 per cent of the countrys population.
According to a Congress veteran, Pranabda would not have spoken before assessing the impact of his words. Hes not known to speak loosely, the leader said.
The Moradabad district Congress has proposed Rahuls sister, Priyanka Vadra, and two others as Lok Sabha candidates from the town. Priyankas husband Robert is from Moradabad, where his family owns a brassware factory.
Asked if Priyanka would contest, chief spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily said: Theres a spontaneous demand for her not just from Moradabad but from all over the country. The Congress president has to take a decision.
But sources said Priyanka was unlikely to bite the bait, always offered to her before a Lok Sabha poll, saying she was focused on her brothers political career and wouldnt want to do anything that might look obstructive.