Cong vice-president to visit Gujarat by month-end

Cong vice-president to visit Gujarat by month-end

Seeking to tackle BJP’s poll mascot Narendra Modi head on, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to tour Gujarat later this month — a visit that could perk up the party rank-and-file ahead of the general election.

Rahul's scheduled visit to Rajkot and Ahmedabad on September 23 and 24 comes at a time when the Congress has launched an all-out attack against Modi in the run-up to the election.

This would be Rahul’s first visit to Gujarat after the assembly election last year.  In this interregnum, Modi has been elevated in the BJP and is in charge of his party’s campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The BJP is also expected to declare him as its prime-ministerial candidate next week.

From being the Sangh Parivar’s laboratory for Hindutva, Gujarat has now virtually transformed into Modi’s bastion. The BJP strongman has sidelined a number of leaders, including former chief ministers Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta, besides Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia. The Congress has been unable to capitalise on the resentment in a section of the BJP due to Modi’s authoritarian style of functioning. Modi’s impatience for being declared the BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate has also rubbed senior leaders L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj the wrong way.

Though Gujarat is considered Modi’s bastion, the Congress managed to win nine Lok Sabha seats there in 2009, and improved its tally slightly in last year’s assembly election.
The Congress believes that it has a sizeable vote share in Gujarat, which has stood by it throughout, and a small swing in its favour could work wonders for the party.

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