iconimg Tuesday, July 07, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, December 06, 2012
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will be on a one-day tour of Gujarat on Friday, during which she is expected to take on the development plank chief minister Narendra Modi is using to win elections this time.

The elections are scheduled for December 13 and 17. Gandhi's visit comes at a time when the party is still recovering from the blow dealt by senior party leader Narhari Amin.

One of Congress's most visible faces, former deputy CM Amin joined rival BJP on Thursday after being denied a Congress ticket.

Although, he is not known to have much political clout outside Ahmedabad, Modi has cashed in on Amin's defection to highlight infighting within the Congress.

Gandhi, meanwhile, is expected to draw attention of the voters to Modi's failure to provide water and electricity in rural areas and the consequent hardship of the farmers, especially in the western Saurashtra region, said a local party official, who didn't want to be named.

She is also scheduled to hold forth on the growing distress in the export-oriented small and enterprise sector badly hit by the global economic slump.

Quite fittingly, Gandhi's first rally is scheduled to be held in tribal-dominated Mandvi in southern Gujarat.

The venue, 60km off the diamond city of Surat, is the hardest hit by the economic slowdown.

From Mandvi, she will travel to Keshod in Saurashtra, a stronghold of the powerful Leuva Patel community.

The Leuva Patels, a major votebank for BJP in the past, are believed have turned against Modi.