Rahul Gandhi will address some rallies in Gujarat, leaving the yatra briefly for a few days.
NEW DELHI: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra” will now enter Hindi belt state Madhya Pradesh on 23 November instead of 20 November. Rahul Gandhi will also address some rallies in Gujarat, leaving the yatra briefly for a few days. He will go for the poll campaign for the first time amidst the yatra. He had kept himself away from the Himachal Pradesh polls. He did not even issue any appeal for the voters there, while he has been making appeals to Gujarat voters through tweet messages. In fact, Himachal’s job was left to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is unlikely to visit Gujarat. This is for the first time that brother and sister have separately taken responsibility for different states.
Rahul Gandhi earlier did not show much interest in Gujarat. But after Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s request, he is now keen to visit the state. The BJP is facing no challenge in Gujarat as of now. Congress is looking for a “respectable” performance. AAP’s campaign is now losing steam, and it does not appear to be carrying that much damage potential for the Congress. So, Congress is back in action, planning to organise Rahul Gandhi’s rallies. Congress is also buoyed by the “success” of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. However, organisers are trying to give the message that the yatra has nothing to do with poll politics. Rahul Gandhi’s yatra’s success will be tested now.
Amid Congress’ preparation to focus on Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi has given BJP a big issue by making comments on Sawarkar before the campaign in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi said that Sawarkar helped the British. The BJP immediately hit back at Rahul Gandhi, signalling that the saffron outfit would spare no effort to polarise the political atmosphere ahead of polls on this issue. Both the Sangh and the BJP are of the firm view that Sawarkar fought against the British. Observers believe that Rahul Gandhi should avoid raising this kind of issue as the main issues like price rise and unemployment etc. get overshadowed. Already, Congress is facing problems. Its alliance with Shiv Sena is unlikely to survive as the latter would go with BJP sooner or later. BJP would definitely raise the Sawarkar issue in a big way in Maharashtra, considering the importance of the state which accounts for 48 seats in Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, PM Modi’s rallies will coincide with Rahul’s public meetings in Gujarat. What will be interesting to see is what issues the two leaders raise during the rallies. Remarkably, Rahul Gandhi has been avoiding to launch any direct attack on either PM Modi, Adani or Ambani. Soon after the Gujarat poll campaign, Rahul Gandhi would be in Madhya Pradesh, which is considered to be the Sangh’s laboratory. The Yatra would enter MP from Burhanpur district on 23 November. After passing through around half a dozen districts, the yatra would enter Rajasthan on 5 December.
Congress’ strategy wants Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra to pass through the centres of Hindu pilgrims in MP. Rahul Gandhi’s soft Hindutva image may be projected after his visit to Mahakal at Ujjain. Former CM Kamal Nath is the only Congress bigwig in lead role in MP after Jyotiraditya Scindia left the party. Former MP CM Digvijaya Singh is maintaining a low profile. So, Rahul Gandhi won’t need to give lessons of unity to Congress workers at least in MP. While in Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi will teach workers a lesson of unity and discipline. The desert state witnessed the political turmoil during which party insiders fomented trouble for CM Gehlot. The Rajasthan CM has high hopes from Rahul Gandhi’s yatra in Rajasthan, as Rahul Gandhi may give Gehlot’s adversaries a direct and strong message. Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in MP and Rajasthan is important as Congress would use it to build a campaign in both the key states of Hindi belt.