Rahul-Modi face-off phase one: Cong VP to address rally in Rajasthan

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi will kick off the election campaign of Congress in party-ruled Rajasthan by addressing an election rally in tribal-dominated Salumbar assembly constituency of Udaipur division on Wednesday, which will be followed by two rallies of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Party general secretary in-charge for the state Gurudas Kamath said while Rahul Gandhi will address two rallies this week in the state--in Salumbar tomorrow and Baran on 17 September, he has put in a request for finalising the dates of the Congress President's rallies in Bhilwara and Barmer.

 Rahul-Modi face-off phase one: Cong VP to address rally in Rajasthan

Rahul Gandhi. AFP

The rally of Congress in Rajasthan is happening a day after Narendra Modi's Jaipur rally. Kamat, however, says Gandhi' plan to kick off the election campaign in Rajasthan was finalised more than three weeks ago and "who knows BJP might have done it a day after knowing about Gandhi's programme."

He also took a dig at Modi over the controversy over a purported direction by BJP asking Muslims to come dressed in skull caps and burqas for Modi's rally.

"Modi did not give even a single ticket to Muslims in Gujarat assembly elections. By this, he showed his hatred for the community. Suddenly, they are remembering Muslims. They will not get their votes by such gimmicks," Kamat said.

BJP, however, claimed the direction by its minority cell has been "misunderstood" and no distinction had been made on the basis of religion.

Udaipur division of the state is a Congress strong-hold where the party had secured 22 out of the 28 assembly seats last time when Congress formed its government led by Ashok Gehlot in 2008 getting 98 of the 200 total assembly seats.

Congress has seen many ups and downs in Rajasthan. After securing an impressive 156 seats (78 percent of total seats) in assembly election in 1998, the party was reduced to 56 seats in 2003 when it was replaced by a BJP government with Vasundhara Raje as the Chief Minister.

In 2008, BJP got only 86 seats and lost to Congress which formed the government with the help of independents and BSP MLAS who later joined Congress.

Internal fights has been a challenge of Congress in Rajashtan like it was in many other states. Besides the internal assessments in the party till a year back was not giving a very encouraging picture for the return of Gehlot government.

However, party insiders claim a change is visible in the last few months and they are again hopeful of a return to power.

"All leaders are on board. We will definitely win the assembly election," claimed Kamat.

PTI

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Updated Date: Sep 11, 2013 10:56:34 IST