iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Udaipur, September 11, 2013
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will launch the party’s poll campaign by addressing a farmers’ rally in Udaipur district on Wednesday.

Gandhi’s rally in Salumber, 70 km from Udaipur, comes a day after BJP campaign committee head Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally in Jaipur and said the countdown for rooting out the corrupt Congress from power had begun.

The Congress chose the tribal heartland to begin its poll campaign underlining the importance of the region in political calculations.

The Congress, somewhat jittery about the large turnout at BJP’s rally in Jaipur and fearing crowd comparisons, made efforts to ensure large attendance. The government announced a holiday for MNREGA workers and health department staff who were asked to be present at Gandhi’s rally.

Nevertheless, the crowd at the ground in Salumber was large by all counts. The area is set in the Aravalli ranges and is hilly and villages are remote but people started arriving at the venue since early morning.

The tribal region accounts for 35 seats of the 200 in Rajasthan and will be a deciding factor in victory or defeat in the assembly polls.

Traditionally Congress has held a sway over tribal votes and the party is hoping for a large tally here. The BJP, on the other hand, is hopeful that it will be able to make a dent in Congress votebank.