AHMEDABAD: With just 90 days left before the assembly polls in Gujarat, looks like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi rolled out the poll campaign with what the party is terming it as a direct dialogue with its workers.
But keeping aside his recent troubles of the Congress, his address at the programme — held at a waterfront on the picturesque banks of Sabarmati river — was focused on attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the most important election year, this was Rahul Gandhi’s third visit to Gujarat, where his party has been out of power for nearly two decades.
However, Rahul Gandhi said he was confident that the party would make a comeback this time. The reason, he said, was that the much-touted “model of development” in the state had “failed”. The ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, were “scared” of the outcome of the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, he said. “This time, I firmly believe no one can stop the Congress from forming the next government in Gujarat,” the 47-year-old added.
Coming to the exact situation, there is worthwhile mentioning that the state Congress recently weathered a massive storm after its state unit chief, Shankarsinh Vaghela, exited. The party lost 14 of its 51 legislators in the 182-seat assembly — 12 of them crossed over to the BJP.
The crisis centred the Rajya Sabha elections in the state last month, in which party chief Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel was contesting. Mr Patel won the election – barely – after a prolonged, bitter, late-night drama that was resolved with the disqualification of the votes of two Congress lawmakers, which brought down the number of votes he needed.
Although, Congress managed to win only one of the three seats in which elections were held. BJP chief Amit Shah made his debut from one, Union minister Smriti Irani was re-elected to the upper house from the other.
In the next ten to fifteen days, Rahul Gandhi is all set to plump up the Congress campaign with more visits and even a week-long yatra – a contrast from the BJP’s sustained campaign.
Over the last two or three months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the state’s Chief Minister, and party chief Amit Shah have visited the state multiple times.
The party’s slogan, “Garje Gujarat (Gujarat roaring)” has been actively pushed on social media.