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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress banking on Rahul Gandhi’s road show to regain lost ground in Haryana

The objective behind holding a road show even before announcing the candidates is that the Congress is making all efforts to win back the constituencies of Ambala, Kurukshetra and Karnal, which were once considered a stronghold of the Congress before the Modi wave swept the last general election.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 29, 2019 14:02 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Karnal
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is holding a road show in Haryana on March 29, 2019.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is holding a road show in Haryana on March 29, 2019.(PTI)
         

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s 70-kilometre long road show from Jagadhri to Karnal, scheduled for Friday, is being seen as the grand old party’s effort to regain its lost ground in the northern parts of Haryana.

The Congress president will start with a public meeting in Jagadhri of Yamunanagar, then take out a road show passing from Radaur, Ladwa and Indri before ending the day at Karnal.

The objective behind holding a road show even before announcing the candidates is that the Congress is making all efforts to win back the constituencies of Ambala, Kurukshetra and Karnal, which were once considered a stronghold of the Congress before the Modi wave swept the last general election.

Though in 2014, BJP candidates Ratan Lal Kataria, Raj Kumar Saini and Ashwini Chipra had won these seats with a huge margin, Congress candidates had won these seats in two consecutive elections—2009 and 2004—as Kumari Selja represented Ambala, Naveen Jindal won from Kurukshetra and Arvind Sharma, who has now joined the BJP, won both the elections on a Congress ticket from Karnal.

As per the schedule, Gandhi will be covering at least two assembly segments of each constituency.

Since all these assembly segments are currently represented by BJP MLAs, Congress insiders believe that such road shows by top party leaders are required to boost the morale of contenders and ground-level workers of the Congress, which is facing infighting in its state unit.

The party will also want to put its best foot forward as the performance in Lok Sabha election will have an impact on the assembly elections due in October this year.

Talking to Hindustan Times, former chief minister and the party’s coordination committee chairman in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said, “Without any doubt, Rahulji’s visit in Haryana will give a boost to the party in not just the northern parts of the state but the entire state. The party workers are very excited about this road show and this would set the tone for change in the coming elections.”

OLD GUARDS MAY RETAIN TICKETS

Though Congress has not declared its candidates so far, speculations are rife that the party is likely to field its old guards—Kumari Selja from Ambala and Naveen Jindal from Kurukshetra. But this road show would definitely help the party president get an overview of the ground reality before allotment of tickets.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 14:01 IST