No Modi bashing, Cong to focus on graft in Gujarat

In a change of poll strategy in Gujarat, the Congress has decided not to attack Chief Minister Narendra Modi as an individual and avoid raking up the issue of communalism and 2002 riots during poll campaign in the state, where elections will be held in December.

According to the strategy chalked out by Congress poll managers, party’s election campaign in the state will be to focus on issues such as farmers’ plight, corruption and mis-governance during the Modi regime and give amiss to communalism, which came to be associated with the BJP government after post-Godhra riots.

“This time we will target Modi on corruption and problems faced by farmers and the common man of Gujarat. This was evident in Sonia Gandhi’s rally in Rajkot,” a senior AICC functionary told Deccan Herald.

According to the Congress leader, the rationale behind such a strategy is that “Modi has very strong media management in Gujarat and if we target him on communalism he will divert the whole issue and will play it to his advantage.”

The changed poll tactic of Congress, which is out of power in the state since 1995 was reflected in the Congress president’s farmers’ rally at Rajkot on Wednesday, where Gandhi came down heavily on the BJP government without mentioning the name of Modi even once.

Gandhi gave a miss to Modi despite the chief minister attacking her, alleging that UPA government paid for the Congress president’s foreign trip for medical treatment.
The venue of Gandhi’s rally was chosen carefully as the party wants to cash in on anger
of farmers who suffered huge crop losses due to drought.

Low-key campaign

Also, after the poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul Gandhi had led an aggressive election campaign, party managers have opted for low-key electioneering in Gujarat and will not project the Gandhi scion as the leader for election campaign which seems to be an effort to insulate him from further criticism.

Faced with the handicap of lacking a tall leader to take on Modi in Gujarat, Congress has been struggling to regain power in the state for past 17 years.

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