Congress President Sonia Gandhi will kick off the party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Maharashtra on January 31.
She will address a public rally in Thane district that has gained much importance in state politics after the delimitation process.
Congress sources said the party was hoping to mobilise public support in the district that has increased its Lok Sabha segments to four from two. Currently, the party has one MP from the district while its position in the Assembly is far from satisfactory because the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party significantly dominate the region. The delimitation process has also increased the district's Assembly seats to 24 from 11.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakare said the rally's venue would be declared only after the Special Protection Group's approval. He along with Mumbai Congress chief Kripashanker Singh decided on two places in Vasai and Mira-Bhayender.
Sonia will launch the work of the six-lane Mumbai-Surat Express Highway before addressing the rally. The Centre will spend Rs 3,000 crore on the road of which 100 km will pass through Maharashtra and 90 km through Gujarat. Thane district is unique for its blend of urban, rural and tribal population. It is country's only district to have maximum number of municipal corporations. Though proximity to Mumbai has helped the district grow on several counts, the tribal issues still remains a matter of concern. Farmers are too disappointed. Once a manufacturing hub, the western coastal region of the district faces industrial concerns as well because most units are either shut or have shifted to Gujarat. The Congress expects Sonia to address these issues.