Ahmedabad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will launch his party’s campaign for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections during his visit to the BJP-ruled state on September 5, it was announced on Wednesday.
Making the announcement here, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said the opposition party has started the process of candidate selection and will release its first list of nominees for the year-end polls before September 15.
“The Assembly poll campaign will be launched by Gandhi on September 5. He will come here (Ahmedabad) and have a massive launching programme on election preparations,” the Rajya Sabha member told reporters.
Venugopal said the Congress on Wednesday launched a 90-day election programme in Gujarat, where the party is out of power for nearly three decades.
Gandhi will visit poll-bound Gujarat two days ahead of the launch of the party’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra” on September 7 under his leadership.
The mass outreach programme will see Congress leaders and workers covering 12 states and two Union Territories. The padayatra (foot march) will be about 3,500-km long and will be completed in about 150 days.
“Gandhi’s September 5 visit will be for the Gujarat poll campaign launch. During his visit, he will also seek the blessings of the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel before the launch of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’,” Venugopal said.
Venugopal was here to take part in a meeting on the Congress’s poll preparations with state leaders in the presence of senior election observer Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat in-charge and Rajasthan MLA Raghu Sharma.
Gandhi, a former Congress president, last visited Gujarat on May 10 and addressed a tribal rally in Dahod. After the “Adivasi Satyagrah Rally,” he had met party MLAs and interacted with tribal leaders.
The Wayanad Lok Sabha MP’s subsequent visit to Gujarat was cancelled due to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to him and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for questioning in a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has stepped up its election campaigning in Gujarat with its national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal holding several meetings and interactions with people in different parts of the state and offering what he calls “guarantees” (pre-poll promises) when his party forms a government.
The AAP has already released two lists of its candidates, consisting of 19 names, for elections to the 182-member state Assembly.