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Amethi trip for Rahul, Priyanka

- No rally, only interaction
Rahul and Priyanka in Amethi. Picture by Naeem Ansari

Lucknow, Jan. 22: Rahul Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra landed in Amethi today for their first visit since Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas swept into the Congress vice-president’s parliamentary seat in a cavalcade earlier this month.

Congress sources, however, said the siblings were unlikely to hold a rally in the Uttar Pradesh constituency although senior leaders, who have been camping ahead of Rahul’s visit, have taken up the challenge from the rookie politician.

Chandrakant Dubey, Rahul’s representative in Amethi, said neither Priyanka nor her brother would address any public rallies because of inclement weather across north India. “Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka would only meet people and talk to grassroots workers,” Dubey told The Telegraph.

He said Rahul, who touched down at Fursatganj airstrip around 4.45 this afternoon, drove straight to Gauriganj guesthouse where a meeting of party workers was scheduled later in the evening.

Dubey also said Rahul was “unlikely to be provoked by Vishwas’s rants for a direct debate”.

Vishwas, Rahul’s possible challenger in Amethi, today invited the Congress leader to a direct debate through the media.

Rahul and Priyanka are both scheduled to return to Delhi tomorrow.

Congress insiders said a team of party workers from the state had gone around Amethi ahead of Rahul’s visit to get a feel of what voters were thinking and whether Vishwas’s January 12 rally had in any way led to disenchantment with their sitting MP. These workers have prepared a report that will be submitted to Rahul tomorrow.

The sources said Vishwas, who is still in Amethi, has been trying to tell people that despite being elected twice, Rahul hadn’t done much for the constituency.

But he also got a taste of the obstacles ahead when a mob threw eggs, tomatoes and black paint at his convoy in protest against a poem by the AAP leader that was allegedly insensitive towards the minority community.