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Rahul Gandhi to begin Madhya Pradesh election campaign in September

Apart from public and corner meetings, Gandhi had fashioned his Gujarat and Karnataka poll campaigns with temple visits, a move that prompted his political rivals to charge him with playing “soft Hindutva

india Updated: Aug 01, 2018 07:42 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Madhya Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh election
Rahul Gandhi speaks at an event In Singapore March 8, 2018. (Reuters File Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will launch his Madhya Pradesh election campaign with a visit to Omkareshwar temple, one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva, in September, a party leader familiar with developments said on Tuesday.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Gandhi and state’s Congress leaders, said the leader who also attended.

Apart from public and corner meetings, Gandhi had fashioned his Gujarat and Karnataka poll campaigns with temple visits, a move that prompted his political rivals to charge him with playing “soft Hindutva”.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Deepak Babaria said the meeting — also attended among others by state chief Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh, Arun Yadav, Ajay Singh, Suresh Pachauri and Vivek Tankha — was held to give a final shape to Gandhi’s campaign, including his road shows and the bus yatra.

There has been intense speculation that the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will join hands in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh elections.

Nath had last week said the Congress was keen to prevent any division of Opposition votes in the state and negotiations were on with the BSP to firm up the alliance. “We do not want division of votes. Obviously, our efforts will be to have a workable, feasible and winnable alliance,” he said.

Asked how many seats the Congress was willing to concede to the BSP, he said, “We shouldn’t start with numbers. We should go seat by seat where we can win and the number of seats which we can together win to defeat the BJP is the number of seats we will talk about.” Nath said the two parties are negotiating and more discussions take place. “That takes time,” he added.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 07:42 IST