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Congress’ Sankalp Rally in Rajasthan to send out message of unity

With focus on farmers’ issues, BJP’s ‘misgovernance’ and unemployment, the Congress rallies will also convey the message of ‘united we stand’. All senior state and central leaders such as state party chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot will be present at the rally.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2018 10:59 IST
Sachin Saini
Sachin Saini
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Congress,Sankalp Rally,Rajasthan
After the first rally in Chittorgarh on August 24, the Congress will hold the second in Churu on August 28, followed by Barmer (September 5), Karauli (September 10) and Nagaur (September 12).(PTI/File Photo)

In Rajasthan, it is yatra versus rally. The BJP’s Gaurav Yatra was launched to publicise development work of the Vasundhara Raje government and the Congress will start its Sankalp Rally to put up a united front.

The second phase of the Gaurav Yatra will start on August 24, the day the Congress will launch its rally from Chittorgarh in Udaipur division. Gaurav Yatra also began from Udaipur region.

Continuing with its soft Hindutva strategy, Congress leaders will start the rally with a visit to Sanwaliya Seth temple in Chittorgarh. The BJP Yatra was launched by national party chief Amit Shah from Charbujha temple in Rajsamand.

With focus on farmers’ issues, BJP’s ‘misgovernance’, and unemployment, the Congress rallies will also convey the message of ‘united we stand’. All senior state and central leaders, such as state party chief Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, CP Joshi, Mohan Prakash, Jitendra Singh and AICC general secretary Avinash Pande will be present at the rally.

“The central leadership directed the presence of all leaders during the rally,” a senior Congress leader said on anonymity. He added that the message of a united front was made clear by party chief Rahul Gandhi, especially through the power hug between Gehlot and Pilot.

While Raje’s yatra is covering all the assembly constituencies of a division, the Congress is initially planning to hold a big meeting in each district of a division. With a roadshow and a meeting held by Gandhi in Jaipur on August 11, the state unit has not included the city in the itinerary. The party is still to finalise the venue and date for holding a rally in the CM’s home division (Kota).

After the first rally in Chittorgarh on August 24, the Congress will hold the second in Churu on August 28, followed by Barmer (September 5), Karauli (September 10) and Nagaur (September 12).

Also read: Vasundhara Raje’s yatra hits Gujjar, Rebari bump

Another similarity in the Gaurav Yatra and Sankalp Rally are the targets given to workers and leaders to pull crowds to make the show a success. The Congress is upbeat with Gandhi’s recent roadshow and meeting, and also the fact that the BJP is facing anti-incumbency in some pockets.

Political experts say large crowds and rallies cannot be an indicator for positive voter outcome. Even after rallies, such as Gehlot’s Sandesh Yatra in the run-up to the 2013 assembly elections, the Congress had been reduced to 21. The rounds of public dialogue held by Raje before the last by-elections did not come to her rescue and the ruling party faced defeat in both the Lok Sabha seats and Mandalgarh assembly seat, experts say.

On the Congress launching its rally after the BJP’s yatra, political analyst Narayan Bareth said, “The BJP is facing anti-incumbency. The BJP acts and Congress reacts; it should be the other way round. The Congress through this rally is giving the message that they are united and active. It is to be seen to what extent the message penetrates among the masses; the election result would depend this.”

He added, “The challenge before the Congress is that people haven’t seen the required unity, which they need to establish.”

Sachin Pilot said, “Raje’s yatra is a counter to our ‘Mera Booth Mera Gaurav’ programme. Now it is to be seen how they will counter our rallies.”

The objective of the rally, Pilot said, is to raise voice over farmers’ problems, employment to youth and misgovernance of the BJP government. “When the yatra started, we raised a question every day starting with why public money is being used in the yatra? The high court issued a notice but despite that, the PWD department is issuing tenders. What the BJP is doing is unethical and illegal, and now the public will teach them lesson,” he said.

Pilot said, “Our meetings will be bigger with all leaders on board; the BJP’s yatra is centralised around Raje.”

State BJP media in-charge Vimal Katiyar said, “The Congress has done many things inspired by the BJP. They are visiting temples, and now looking at Suraaj Sankalp and Gaurav Yatra, they are starting Sankalp Yatra. It’s good they are inspired.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 00:04 IST