The Congress is facing the dilemma of how much its vice-president Rahul Gandhi should participate in the crucial Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls, which comes a few months after the party’s disastrous show in the Lok Sabha polls.
While a section in the Congress wanted Gandhi to go all out and take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on specific issues, some favoured a low-key campaign trail for him.
It was eventually decided that he will address nine rallies in Maharashtra and four in Haryana.
There was also a debate within the party over identifying the places for him to campaign.
While some wanted him to address rallies in “safe” seats where the party has a strong chance of winning, many rejected the idea and sought “tough” constituencies for him to campaign.
In Haryana, he will be addressing election meetings in four parliamentary constituencies of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Kurukshetra or Ambala.
The Congress had lost in all these seats in this summer’s Lok Sabha elections.
The party is still working out his schedule for Maharashtra but he is expected to descend on the state next week. “The idea is not to insulate Rahul from the blame if we lose the elections. Winning and losing is part of the game. We led the coalition government in Maharashtra for 15 consecutive years and ruled Haryana for a decade,” a senior leader said.
The state elections are crucial for both the Congress and the BJP. While the Congress has to prove that it is on the road to recovery after the decimation in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has the onerous task of maintaining the winning streak.
These elections have been thrown wide open after the break-up of alliances in both the states.