With Rahul Gandhi busy in Bharat Jodo Yatra, has Congress given a walkover in Gujarat assembly election? | India News

India


NEW DELHI: The assembly election in Gujarat is likely to be held in a couple of months. While the ruling BJP and a newcomer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal have already started campaigning, the main opposition Congress party is nowhere to be seen on the ground.
In the previous Gujarat assembly electionCongress leader Rahul Gandhi had launched the party’s campaign on September 25, 2017 from the temple town of Dwarka. He kicked off his three-day ‘Navsarjan yatra’ by seeking the blessings of Lord Krishna at the Dwarkadhish temple.

His aggressive campaign saw use of caste politics, development agenda and ‘soft Hindutva’.
A Congress vice-president till then, Rahul was elevated as the party president in the middle of the Gujarat state poll.
All these cumulatively helped the Congress. The party, which had won 61 of the total 182 seats in 2012, was victorious on 77 seats in 2017.
The Congress’s vote share, which stood at 38.93 per cent in 2012, rose to 41.4 per cent in the last election.
In contrast to the Congress, the BJP’s performance deteriorated despite two major advantages to the ruling party – firstly, the 2017 assembly election was being contested for the first time after the BJP’s thumping victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and secondly, it is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah who was the then party president.
The BJP had won 115 seats in 2012 when Modi was the Gujarat chief minister. Its vote share stood at 47.85 per cent.
In the 2017 Gujarat assembly election, the BJP’s seats were reduced to 99 against Shah’s target of 150 seats. The party though polled 49.05 of the total votes.
On the Congress’s part, however, the urgency which was witnessed in 2017 seems to be missing in the forthcoming Gujarat election.
The Congress is busy in its ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatrawith Rahul being its most prominent yatri.
The yatra, which was launched on September 7 at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, actually got off a day later. The 3750-km yatra will cover 12 states and two Union Territories in 150 days before culminating in Kashmir.
However, the yatra skips the poll-bound Gujarat.
So far, there are no plans for Rahul to leave the yatra midway and start campaigning in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. He is one of the 120-odd Bharat yatris who will undertake the complete journey.
The Congress is likely to tweak the original plan of the Bharat Jodo Yatra to accommodate Rahul’s campaign in the two states going to election in November and December.
Several senior leaders are in the dark about Rahul’s campaigning in Gujarat.
However, a top leader involved with the implementation of the yatra, told TOI on the condition of anonymity that their star campaigner may temporarily visit Gujarat and Himachal and come back to join the yatra. “Rahul ji is not leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He is just like any other main yatris. He can leave it temporarily and rejoin it later,” the leader said.
The significant change would be a digression from the original plan of the yatra which was originally conceived by Congress president Sonia Gandhi during the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ held at Jodhpur in May. Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh led the team to chalk out the modalities of the yatra.
Digvijaya and Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh have been communicating the details of the yatra from time to time. They have been clear that Rahul is one of the main yatris and he will remain its part from start to finish.
While talking to mediapersons at Kollam in Kerala on September 15, Ramesh sought to explain why Bharat Jodo Yatra is not going to Gujarat when the Congress’s main opponent is the BJP.
He said, it was a Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra – south to north yatra. He compared it with Shankaracharya’s yatra which started from Kaladi 1300 years ago and the Bhakti Movement which also went from south to north.
Ramesh said it takes a minimum of 90 days to reach Gujarat on padyatra that starts from Kanyakumari. By that time, election in Gujarat and Himachal would be over.
He said, “Even if a superman with a 56-inch chest were to walk, you know who I am referring to, he will take 90 days to reach Gujarat from Kanyakumari. There was no way we could reach Gujarat or Himachal Pradesh in the yatra. Based on geography and security we selected this out of five other routes. This is the reason why Gujarat and Himachal do not figure. But in Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Congress’s main opponent is BJP.”
On an earlier occasion, while speaking with mediapersons in Delhi, Digvijaya said it was a Congress yatra and it was expected that all Congress leaders would take part in it. Asked whether Rahul would undertake the whole padyatra, Singh said he is also a Congress leader. About 100 to 125 people would undertake the yatra from beginning to the end, he added.
Explaining further in reply to another question, Singh said there were three categories of about 100 yatris each. The first category was Bharat Yatris who would walk from start to finish. The second category of Atithi Yatris would include those who come from states through which the yatra was not passing. The third category belonged to the Pradesh Yatris from the states through which the yatra would pass. “Rahul Gandhi is a Bharat Yatri as he is a top leader of the country,” said Digvijaya.
However, sources in the Congress said a new plan is being worked out to include Rahul’s campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.