Congress sure of coming out of its exile

Like many leaders in the fray, next week’s elections are crucial for Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

For the 52- year-old Leader of the Opposition. a defeat could badly damage his political career. Gohil, on his part, has been raising several corruption issues against the Narendra Modi regime over the last five years through various RTI posers and that continues to be one of his poll planks. Gohil, along with his other party colleagues, has also been raising these issues at several media interactions. In an interview with Swati Bhan on the campaign trail in his constituency in Bhavnagar Rural, these are some of the issues that he touched upon:

Senior leaders who have spent more than two decades with the Congress are defecting? Will it affect Congress party prospects in the polls?

With leaders like Amin quitting, yes, it does affect the image of the party, but we had to take a stand and send a signal of discipline. While distributing tickets, it was decided that any person who has not won elections for two terms would not be given a ticket and that applied to Amin as well.
There has been a lot of resentment after ticket distribution; with this kind of infighting, will the Congress be able to dent the strongholds of the BJP?

There is internal democracy in the Congress; we believe that everyone has the right to express their opinion, their resentment, and it has been happening. So, it shows that the party is open to accepting criticism also.

The Congress has been out of power for the last 17 years. Are the workers feeling motivated enough to face the almost issueless elections?

Yes, when they started going to the people they have begun realising that there is a level of restlessness among people; they feel that there has just been talk of development but not everyone has benefited from it. We are talking to the voters about the kind of facilities that were there during the Congress regime. They (voters) agree and are listening as well.

Do you think that the promise in the party manifesto of free homes and laptops are drawing attention, especially of the target audience?

Yes, we as a party do not believe in making fake promises; we want to deliver as well if voted to power. So, as a first step toward that commitment, we have distributed forms, collected the forms and given back receipts as well so that there is a level of trust that can be built. And that has happened. We are also citing examples of other state governments ruled by the Congress party where they deliver and prices of essential commodities like petrol, diesel and CNG are lower than that of  Gujarat because of the Value Added Tax.

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