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HindustanTimes Fri,15 Aug 2014
Ducking Modi barbs, Cong talks welfare
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 24, 2012
First Published: 22:53 IST(24/10/2012)
Last Updated: 01:34 IST(25/10/2012)
Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi addresses a public rally in Mangalore. PTI

Toeing a well-thought-out strategy, the Congress continues to turn its back on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's barbs at its top leadership, even as the campaign heats up for the two-phase state assembly elections on December 13 and 17.

Keeping its focus on local issues, the party seeks to take on the ruling BJP on development issues and not get provoked into attacking Modi on the 2002 riots, or fall for his ruse of dragging the top Congress leadership into the electoral battle.

In his latest attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Modi told a public meeting in Balasinor on Tuesday that "she does not know the ABC of governance". He had earlier dared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to fight against him in the Gujarat elections.

Though the two parties are at each other's throats, the Congress has exercised restraint in its counter-attacks, and does not want to engage Modi directly. "We are not going to be provoked by Modi or get involved in personal attacks… We will fight the elections on the issue of development of Gujarat since he has been boasting about it for a long time now," said a Congress leader.

To take its agenda forward, the Gujarat Congress is organising six major conventions across the state - in Bhavnagar, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Junagadh and Jamnagar -  from Wednesday to November 7.

Congress leaders and workers have also been asked to visit areas dominated by members of the scheduled and backward castes, and raise the issue of three Dalits getting killed in police firing at Thangadh on September 22. Besides this, party leaders will hold protests in tribal areas against the alleged gangrape of three tribal women and a minor at Viramgam near Ahmedabad on October 18.

The state unit has also expedited the process of collecting forms of the '100-yard plot scheme', which the party claims was "a big hit with the masses". It has announced October 30 as the deadline for completing the formation of booth committees across the state.


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