Cong to announce candidates for Gujarat elections soon

Seeking to counter Narendra Modi in his home state Gujarat, the Congress plans to start early for the year-end Assembly elections.

Out of power for over two decades, the Congress plans to announce its candidates for the Assembly elections by January-end which could give them a head start against their rivals.

“We have already received 1,570 applications for 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat,” AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Gurudas Kamat, told DH.

Kamat said the party has stopped accepting new applications and it plans to constitute a screening committee to shortlist candidates.

Besides its own strength, the Congress hopes to get the winning edge from the Patidar agitation spearheaded by Hardik Patel as well as the unrest among the Dalit community due to atrocities in Una. Four Dalit youths were thrashed in Una in August on the charge of killing a cow.

Plans to ‘expose’

The Congress has made plans to “expose” the Gujarat model of development which was successfully marketed by Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Congress leaders claim that Modi’s promise of job creation for youths of the state in the automobile sector — after Tata Motors shifted from West Bengal’s Singur — has rung hollow.

“Most of the workers in the Tata Nano plant at Sanand are from Bihar and Odisha. No youths from Gujarat have got jobs there,” a senior Congress leader said.

Similarly, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit initiated by Modi during his tenure as the chief minister, the Congress believes, has not got the promised investments.

No returns

“Only 0.8% of the investments promised during the successive Vibrant Gujarat Summits have turned into reality,” the leader said.

The BJP has been in power in Gujarat since March 1995, barring a brief interlude by renegade Shankarsinh Vaghela’s Rashtriya Janata Party. All through this period, the BJP has maintained a 10% lead in vote share over the Congress.

In the previous Assembly elections, the BJP had polled nearly 48% of the total votes compared to the 39% garnered by the Congress.

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