Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is set to begin the second segment of his election campaign in poll bound Gujarat. State Congress leaders are hoping that the descendent of the Gandhi family would breathe a new life into the party with his dynamic campaign. A popular face who could woo the electorate to polling booths and counter Modi’s popularity was badly needed by the party. Hence the party is seeing Rahul as a ‘messiah’.
Gujarat Congress leaders predict anti-incumbency factor and claim that the people in the state have become disillusioned with BJP’s development plank. To prove their point, they cited their ‘Vikas gando thayo che’ (development has gone crazy) campaign which has become popular among the masses. After its success Congress has now launched yet another campaign “Mara Hala Chhetri Gaya”, loosely translated as ‘I have been conned’, which has already started making waves in the state.
Congress has divided the Gujarat assembly poll campaign into four segments and Rahul Gandhi would spend three days each. He will begin with a three-day tour of the Saurashtra region, which is crucial to Congress’ game. To remove anti-majority tag from the party, the Gandhi scion will begin his campaign from Dwarkadheesh Krishna temple in Dwarka. From there, he will be heading to Jamnagar to interact with largely the youth and businessmen who have been hard hit by the central government’s Goods and Services scheme. From Jamnagar, he would go to Rajkot to visit the Khodaldham temple, a Patidar deity, and here he will interact with the members of the community who have raised the banner of revolt against Modi and the BJP government.
Congress is likely to rope in Pattidar leader Hardik Patel for the campaign to get support of the community. The party will also take support of Amedkarite movement leader Jignesh Mewani, who too has held Modi responsible for atrocities against Dalits in the state, to get Dalits support who comprise of nearly 8% of the state population. Moreover, acting president of the rebel JD (U) faction, Chotu Bhai Vasava, who enjoys considerable support amongst the tribals of the state, has also expressed his desire to have an alliance with the Congress in the state.
Again to prove that Congress is not pro-minority as perceived by the majority community of the state, Gandhi on the last day of his trip, would visit another temple in Surendranagar before proceeding to Viramgam. According to sources to end this pro-minority and anti-majority perception, the party has decided to avoid any references to a particular community. It must be recalled that AK Anthony Committee report had blamed the 2014 defeat on the premise that the majority community felt sidelined during the UPA regime.
Feeling that voices from the ground should be incorporated in its manifesto, the party has asked the common folk to contribute their ideas under the statewide programme ‘Ichchha Tamari, Sankalp Amaro’ (Your wish, our determination).
The party’s campaign slogan would be “Congress Aave Che – Navsarjan Lave Che” (A resurgent Gujarat under congress).