Sonia Gandhi to address first rally in 2 years: Karnataka's Bijapur has been a Nehru-Gandhi favourite for generations

Almost two years after abandoning her poll campaign midway in Varanasi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will hit the campaign trail in Karnataka on Tuesday and address a public rally in Bijapur at 3 pm.

The choice of location for the rally shows careful consideration by the Congress, given the party's long association with the town. Bijapur, or Vijayapura as it is officially known, is the district headquarters of the district of Bijapur, and has been a favourite for the Nehru-Gandhi family for generations.

File image of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. PTI

File image of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. PTI

As a report in The Hindu points out, Jawaharlal Nehru was the first in the family to visit Bijapur, when he attended the centenary celebration of the Bijapur municipality in 1956. Six years later, Indira Gandhi visited the town for the first time along with then chief minister S Nijalingappa, and her last visit to Bijapur was in 1977, after the Emergency.

In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi visited Bijapur to campaign for the local Congress candidate in the Assembly elections, the report added.

Tuesday's rally will be Sonia third rally in Bijapur, after election campaigns in 1991 and 1995. Hindustan Times reported that While Sonia will campaign in north Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi address crowds in south Karnataka and the Bengaluru area in his ninth campaign run in the southern state from 7 to 10 May. He has covered almost all zones of the state in his eight phases of campaigning over the past three months.

Bijapur has been a Congress stronghold over the years — the party has won seven elections between 1957 and 2008. But BJP's Appu Pattanshetty managed to win consecutively in the previously  two elections, posing a tough fight to the Congress once again this year.

Congress sources told PTI that Sonia would not address any other rally after the one in Bijapur.

She has not campaigned for almost two years. The former Congress chief was inactive during campaigns in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland.

The former Congress chief fell ill during a road show in Varanasi on 2 August, 2016, ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 08, 2018 14:27 PM

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