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Huge crowds, excitement, energy in Meghalaya; Rahul Gandhi kicks off poll campaign

Congress president Rahul Gandhi appeared upbeat as he launched the party’s campaign in poll- bound Meghalaya on Tuesday, saying that he encountered huge crowds and felt the excitement among the people there.

Meghalaya Elections 2018 Updated: Feb 09, 2018 14:36 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
rahul Gandhi,Meghalaya,North East
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Chief Minister of Meghlaya Mukul Sangma at a musical evening “celebration of Peace ” ahead of State Assembly election in Shillong on Tuesday. (PTI)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday began campaigning in Shillong, where the party stares at a tough fight with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and National People’s Party (NPP) in the Meghalaya assembly polls next month.

Christian-dominated Meghalaya is one of the four states in the country where the Congress is in power, along with Karnataka, Punjab and Mizoram.

Gandhi landed in Guwahati on Tuesday afternoon before heading to Shillong, from where he proceeded to Jowai in the Jaintia Hills to address a meeting of party leaders and workers.

The Congress president was accompanied by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and senior party office bearers.

Instead of addressing voters in public rallies, Gandhi is expected to participate in a series of meetings with party workers, religious heads and chiefs of various traditional institutions during the trip.

“The highlight of his visit will be a musical festival showcasing Meghalaya’s cultural diversity,” said a senior Congress office bearer.

Unlike Gandhi, the BJP organised a rally in Shillong by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, when he urged voters to topple the Congress government.

Seven Congress legislators have quit the party. Five of them joined the NPP while two others moved to the BJP and the newly formed People’s Democratic Front.

Gandhi is expected to make two more visits to the state in the next few weeks, when he will address public rallies, Congress leaders said.

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First Published: Jan 30, 2018 21:50 IST