Hospet (Karnataka): Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday connected with the people in Bellary district of Karnataka after receiving a rousing reception on his four-day visit to the poll-bound state.
On his maiden visit to the southern state after taking over as the party chief in December, Rahul Gandhi kicked off the party poll campaign on Saturday from Hospet in Bellary district, about 350km northwest of Bengaluru.
In Bellary Lok Sabha constituency, his mother and the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi had defeated Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj in the 1999 general elections.
Calling his tour in the state as ‘Jana Aashirwada Yatre’ (a journey for people’s blessings), Rahul Gandhi interacted with thousands of people and party cadres from the north Karnataka region.
Gandhi also met the beneficiaries of Article 371-J under which people from the old Hyderabad-Karnataka region are given employment and seats for education on priority.
“I share a special connection with Bellary. You stood by Sonia Gandhi and chose her when she needed you,” the Congress leader said at a party rally here.
He had also visited Huligamma temple in the neighbouring Koppal town and Gavi Siddheswara Lingayat Mutt and met its head priest.
Gandhi later addressed a ‘corner meeting’ in Koppal, attended by hundreds of men, women and children from the district.
A special Volvo bus has been arranged for the party chief for his four-day visit.
On Sunday, Gandhi will travel by road for public receptions at Kushtagi, Kankagiri and Gangavati, followed by a public meeting at Karatagi in Koppal district.
He will be touring Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburgi districts to interact with farmers, youths and students.