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Rahul Gandhi to launch Congress campaign in UP

"Rahul would be accompanying Sonia Gandhi to Kanpur," AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot said.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2006 17:34 IST

Speculation over a larger role for Rahul Gandhi gained momentum again with the AICC on Sunday announcing that he would be accompanying Congress President Sonia Gandhi to formally launch the party's campaign in Uttar Pradesh.

"Rahul would be accompanying Sonia Gandhi to Kanpur," AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot said amidst reports that Rahul will be the 'only face' of the Congress for the Assembly elections.

Gehlot also announced that the party chief would be addressing four rallies in different regions of the state in the next one month.

He said the dates and venues of Gandhi's other meetings would be decided later.

Rahul's presence at the Kanpur rally assumes significance as the MP from Amethi has already expressed readiness to lead the party in UP if the high command asked him to do so.

Gehlot's announcement came a day after PCC chief Salman Khursheed said that Rahul would lead the party in UP and the party will mould itself according to his plans and that this exercise would start after the Kanpur rally.

There has been demand from all sections of the party for a larger role to the young leader, but the Congress president has so far not indicated what assignment she wanted to give to him.

The party has already indicated that it may go it alone in the Assembly elections scheduled next year, wanting to play a prominent role and emerge as a king-maker in government formation.

Gehlot has earlier stated that Congress planned to go it alone as it had committed 'blunders' in the past by sometimes supporting the Samajwadi Party and becoming junior partner of the BSP.

Indicating that Congress wanted to be the balancing factor in UP politics, Gehlot had said the party was aiming at leading the next government or ensure that the new dispensation is not possible without its active involvement.

Convinced that UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is facing a strong anti-incumbency factor, the party has kept up a flexible strategy on the alliance issue.

First Published: Aug 06, 2006 17:34 IST