Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will spend his Member of Parliament area development funds on Rae Bareli, a move being seen as an attempt by the BJP to breach the Gandhi family’s stronghold in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “Almost a month back, Jaitley had chosen Rae Bareli district as a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. The backwardness of the district despite being represented by a prominent political family and the various demands which have been emanating from the district, prompted Jaitley ji to choose this,” Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Hero Bajpai said.

Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme or MPLADS, every parliamentarian has the choice to suggest to the district collector for works to the tune of Rs.5 crore a year to be taken up in his or her constituency.A Rajya Sabha MP can recommend works in one or more districts in the state from where the parliamentarian has been elected.”The union finance minister may tour Rae Bareli in the first or second week of November,” Mr Bajpai said.

However, Mr Bajpai ruled out any possibility of an epic battle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections between UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Arun Jaitley. “He (Jaitley) will not contest the Lok Sabha elections, but will strengthen the BJP in the Congress bastion,” Mr Jaitley’s representative said.The people in Rae Bareli have been demanding a stadium, a university, solar lights and solar energy-operated pumps in remote villages of the district, Mr Bajpai said. Efforts would be made to fulfil all the incomplete works in the district, he added.

He said Rs. 2.5 crore has already reached the chief development officer of Rae Bareli.Rae Bareli is currently represented by Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, while the neighbouring parliamentary constituency of Amethi is represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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