Hinting at an encore in more ways than one, the leader of the opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, Sukhram Rathava said that “I take this as my responsibility to ensure that all the candidates who have raised the voice of the people of Gujarat in the Legislative Assembly with me and highlighted their plight are repeated as candidates and get tickets to contest the elections”
Rathva, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and an MLA from the Jetpur constituency in Chhota Udepur, a predominantly tribal belt, went on to add though, that Congress will take into confidence those MLAs who are required to be replaced with new candidates.
Interestingly, Rathva used the cricket analogy to describe the electoral contest and said that the upcoming elections would be like the “final over of a cricket match”. In plain speak, it would translate as “do or die” or more moderately ” perform or perish”
He said “It is certain that all 64 MLAs will unite and contest the polls again” Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and All India Congress Committee are evaluating the work of the MLAs, he added.
Restricting the BJP to 99, in the 2017 Assembly polls, Congress had won 77 seats. only to see helplessly 14 of its MLAs switching their loyalties to BJP, leaving Congress with 63 legislators in the 182-member House.
On August 24, AICC leaders held a meeting with Gujarat leadership to discuss upcoming polls. Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to launch the poll campaign in Gujarat on September 5. The home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Gujarat is a high-stake political battleground. Congress, deposed from the seat of power in 1995, is left jostling space with the new entrant and rapidly gaining stride, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party.
Sukhram Rathva said Congress will take into confidence those MLAs who are required to be replaced with new candidates. “If according to the survey any MLA is required to be removed, he will be taken into confidence before any such decision is taken. For us, the 2022 election is like the last and final over (as in the game of cricket),” he said.