Rahul to start poll campaign from Udaipur

Armed with its flagship Food Security Act, which it believes would swing support amongst rural and tribal voters, the Congress is getting ready to launch its Rajasthan poll campaign from the state’s tribal region of Udaipur next week.

Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi would kick-start the campaign on September 11 at an Adivasi Kisan Sammelan in Salumber in Udaipur. Party’s state unit president Chandrabhan said it iwould be making all-out efforts to make it a historical event.

There are also plans to hold a second event at another of the tribal areas -- Baran-Jhalawar district—a clear sign that the Congress is aggressively going after the rural votes as its stocks continue to go down in urban centres. However, a party leader has said that Rahul is yet to give his consent for the second programme.

The party is also organising a mega rally in Jaipur in which its president Sonia Gandhi would take part. IT is yet to finalise the dates for the rally.

For both the Congress and the BJP, wooing voters in the tribal belt of Udaipur is crucial. The belt that spreads through the Mewar and the Vaagad regions in south-eastern Rajasthan covering seven districts has 35 seats. If past elections are any indication, the party that wins more seats here has ruled the state. Evidently, Congress currently holds 24 of the 35 seats.

Salumber Assembly seat is reserved for ST candidate and is currently held by Congress' Basanti Meena, wife of Udaipur MP Raghuveer Meena, a tribal leader from the region. Of the 35 Assembly seats in the Udaipur division, 16 are reserved for the ST candidates given their vast presence.

Despite being considered a Congress stronghold, the tribal region voted for the BJP in 2003 elections, enabling Vasundhara Raje to form the first BJP government in the state with an absolute majority.

Raje could not repeat her feat in 2009, which gives the Congress the confidence that it can retain the region by starting early for the Assembly polls due this year.

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