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Modi to go on 'saffron' rally in Congress strongholds

Dubbed as a saffron rally, the three-day tour will pass through Sabarkantha, Patan, Kheda and Kapadvanj.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 14, 2004 07:22 PM IST

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi takes his election campaign through four opposition Congress strongholds from Thursday.

Dubbed as a 'kesariya rally', or saffron rally, the three-day tour will pass through Sabarkantha, Patan, Kheda and Kapadvanj, which were won by the Congress last time and are seen as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) weak spots.

The yatra, or campaign rally, begins from the north Gujarat temple town of Ambaji.

Of the four, Modi travelled through two -- Patan and Sabarkantha -- when he accompanied Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani's India Shining tour campaign earlier this month.

He also visited Kapadvanj last month as part of his 'Narmada Pujan Yatra', Narmada prayer tour.

The 'kesariya rally' will be Modi's last election tour in the state, which goes to the polls on April 20.

After that, he is expected to campaign for the party in other states.

Modi has been touring extensively across Gujarat in recent weeks and has targeted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for her foreign origins.

It was at a public rally in Patan, as part of Advani's tour campaign, that Modi had launched his diatribe against Gandhi and her son Rahul, calling the latter a "hybrid calf".

In the last Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, Kapadvanj was represented by former chief minister and Modi's arch foe Shankarsinh Vaghela, who had defected from the BJP.

Patan and Sabarkantha were represented by Pravin Rashtrapal and Madhusudan Mistry, respectively, both known to be close to Vaghela.

And the Congress' Dinsha Patel is said to be strong in Kheda, having won from the constituency thrice.

BJP sources admitted that the party was weak in all the four constituencies and their less experienced candidates left much to be desired.

They indicated that, based on the feedback received from the people, Modi is expected to continue his anti-Sonia remarks.

In 1999, of the 26 Lok Sabha seats from the state, the BJP won 20 and the Congress six. The tally went up by one for the BJP after a by-election.

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