Cong bets on 'KHAM' mantra in Gujarat

Cong bets on 'KHAM' mantra in Gujarat

As an aggressive Narendra Modi eyes a clean sweep in the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, the Congress is aiming at reviving its age-old KHAM – Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, and Muslims – formula to protect its turf and give the BJP a fight.

The Congress has relied on leaders from the KHAM group to revive its political fortunes in the state where it has been out of government since 1995.

The KHAM alliance was forged by Congress leader Madhavsinh Solanki in the 1980s to take the centre of power away from the Patel community. The Congress won 149 seats in the 182-member assembly. But this landslide victory also came at a price - the powerful Patel community and the upper castes moved away from the Congress.

The Congress briefly tried wooing the Patels when it made overtures to the then BJP renegade Keshubhai Patel ahead of the 2012 state assembly elections, which didn’t go down so well with the communities already supporting it.

“We tried supporting Keshubhai when he walked out of the BJP, but that move back-fired on us. We are now focusing on our core voters – the backward classes, tribals and minorities,” a Congress leader said.