Come September 5 and Rahul Gandhi will be in Ahmedabad to officially launch the Gujarat Assembly Election campaign. Confident of a win, the party is looking the fight being a two-way contest: BJP vs the Congress. “We do not count AAP among contenders,” stated Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot who has been appointed as senior AICC observer for the state.
He was speaking at a media briefing after a meeting at Rajiv Bhawan with AICC general secretary, K. C. Venugopal (organization) and state party leaders, Tuesday. Later in the evening, the inner circle met for dinner at Leader of Opposition Sukhram Rathwa’s house.
The 71-year-old Gandhian shared that “a collective effort” will drive home the party. When asked about ticket allotment, he chose to pass the onus to “the top leadership which will take an appropriate decision.” “We will have to work very hard in urban areas. The Congress has specifically targeted 40 urban Assembly constituencies where it has not been able to win since the last three elections,” stated the veteran. He also lashed out the BJP for using the ED as its “Election Department” to intimidate its way in a democracy.
However, despite the strong in-roads AAP is making in the state, Gehlot chose to dismiss it. “Today the same party is asking to be voted for in Gujarat, which earlier removed Bapu’s pictures from its offices. We have not been in power since 27 years but that did not deter us from raising our voice for the people of Gujarat,” he added.
In a veiled attack on the AAP model of education being the party’s only brownie point, he briefed that the Congress mooted for education, health sector, primary, community health centres, government hospitals, civil hospitals, agriculture, irrigation, ports, GIDCs and large industries in Gujarat. “We believe in a slow and steady approach and we hope the people of Gujarat will give us a chance to bring about development via people-oriented schemes,” as he put it.
Meanwhile, on Sept 5, the state will witness Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi in a massive road show to garner support for the party. “Mera Booth Mera Gaurav,” being the grand old party’s message for all the booth in-charge, Venugopal stressed that “courage of the Congress party is in its workers.”
Interestingly, Congress MLA from Dhoraji constituency (Rajkot), Lalit Vasoya, was in a meet with CM Bhupendra Patel at the Vitthal Bhawan during this high-profile Congress conference. When asked what he was doing there, he replied: “Work brought me here.”