Next round of campaigning on November 24-25.
New Delhi: Soon to be elevated as the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi will hit his next round of campaigning in Gujarat on November 24-25. Sources said that this round of campaigning has been planned to coincide with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting in his home state from this week.
While Mr Modi is expected to address more than two dozen public rallies, Mr Gandhi will stick to his plan of holding road shows and meetings. This two-day phase of campaigning will be concentrated in South and Central Gujarat.
“A message has already gone out to the people not to fall prey to the emotions unleashed by the BJP and the prime minister and think about real issues,” a senior leader told this newspaper questioned on Mr Modi’s expected reference to Gujarati pride or ‘Asmita’ during his campaigning. This will also be the first time Mr Gandhi will hit the campaign trail after being virtually named as the next Congress President. The ball was set rolling for his appointment as Congress chief on Monday at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The notification for the polls is to be issued on December 1 and nominations can be filed until December 4. Voting would take place on December 16 with counting on December 19, but only if necessary. It was likely that if Mr Gandhi is the only candidate, then his victory would be announced on December 5 itself.
The Congress has timed Mr Gandhi’s elevation with his taking centre-stage as far as the Gujarat campaign was concerned. The vice-president had hit the campaign trail in Gujarat in September from Patidar-dominated areas of the state. The sources maintained that all was fine between the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and the Congress. Members of PAAS had protested and even indulged in violence when the Congress released its first list on Sunday. Following the protests, three more PAAS leaders have been accommodated in the list which was reissued.
Mr Patel, meanwhile, cancelled a press conference scheduled in Ahmedabad on Tuesday where he was supposed to announce his pact with the Congress indicating that things had not been sorted out yet. On Monday, Mr Patel had cancelled his rally in Rajkot which had been called to announce the pact with Congress.
The PAAS, it is learnt, has asked for 12 seats for its members. But Congress was in no mood to concede. Sources said that having faced trouble, Mr Patel was contemplating changing his core team.
Senior Congress leaders also said that all was not over with NCP as well.