Rahul Gandhi kicks off Congress’ Gujarat election campaign | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Rahul Gandhi kicks off Congress’ Gujarat election campaign

The Congress will bank largely on grassroots workers in the Gujarat assembly elections later this year as it aims to regain power after almost two decades.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2017 19:12 IST
Hiral Dave
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at an interaction programme with party workers  at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at an interaction programme with party workers at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad on Monday. (HT )

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday launched his party’s campaign for the Gujarat assembly elections with an audacious claim that the party would return to power in the state and that it will give tickets largely to grassroots workers.

“Grassroots workers will be fielded for the assembly elections,” Gandhi said during a direct interaction with party member from all the 182 constituencies at the Sabarmati riverfront in line with the party’s focus on strengthening and revving up the organisation in Gujarat.

The Congress has been put of power in Gujarat for almost two decades. But Gandhi sounded confident that the party would come to power after the polls scheduled later this year.

“This time, I firmly believe no one can stop the Congress from forming the next government in Gujarat,” he said at the outreach programme.

He also said that the party will soon select the candidates for the polls likely to be held in November-December.

He added that no leader from any other party joining the Congress ahead of the polls will be given ticket.

Gandhi answered 10 pre-selected questions from thousands of workers from all the 182 constituencies. Congress unit chief in Gujarat, Bharatsinh Solanki read out the questions, which Gandhi answered from a T-shaped stage erected at Sabarmati riverfront.

Read more: Angry at party MLAs backing BJP, 500 NCP members join Congress in Gujarat

Except two questions - one on whether candidates with muscle and money will continue to get the tickets and what the party do if senior leaders try to defeat own party candidates - the other questions were framed in a way that gave Gandhi the chance to attack the ruling BJP.

“There is no place in party to those who try to damage the party’s prospect in the poll,” said Gandhi in one of the answer.

When the question and answer session began, Solanki mentioned the names of a couple of workers whose questions were selected. But he did not name the others whose questions were selected.

Among the questions were those on the Congress’s stand on GST, unemployment, condition of farmers and small-medium scale industries.

The Congress vice president said the BJP’s so-called ‘Gujarat model’ has failed to benefit commoners.

“We all know the Modi government works for handful of wealthy industrialists,” Gandhi alleged. “Tata Motors’ Nano project was given a sum by the BJP government which was double the Gujarat’s farmers’ debt of Rs 30,000 crore,” said Gandhi.

Later he added, “Tata Motors was given soft loan at interest rate of 0.01 per cent”.

Gandhi also alleged that be it health or education, all the sectors have become business as the BJP have converted them to private from public units.

He alleged that while Congress tried to protect farmers’ land through Land Acquisition Bill, the Modi government tried its best to stall it and later cancel it in the states ruled by the BJP.

To a question which alleged media has been ‘bought’ by the Modi government, Gandhi said, “But real condition of farmers cannot be kept hidden. Besides, not entire media has been bought. There are still some who wants to write against the Modi government.”

This was the first event by the Congress after Rajya Sabha elections where veteran Ahmed Patel managed to win though six MLAs had resigned and eight others cross-voted in favour of the BJP. Most of the rebels have joined the BJP.

The trouble for the Congress had begun when former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela left alleging lack of focus, direction and unity in the party ahead of crucial assembly elections.