The aggressive campaign by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Gujarat Assembly elections, which gave a tough fight to the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf, will have a galvanising effect on the party’s campaign in the states which will go to the polls this year, the party said.
”The enthusiasm generated by the vigorous and aggressive campaign by Congress president Rahul Gandhi will have a galvanising effect in the states yet to go for elections in the coming year. It has also exposed the media bogey of the invincibility of the Modi Shah duo who, in their home state, have not only been unable to live up to the target of Mission 150 plus but have lowered their earlier tally and barely scraped through in 16 seats,” the Congress party mouthpiece ‘Sandesh’ said in an editorial.
In this context, the party’s mouthpiece said ,”the Prime Minister, addressing his party, admitted that it was a difficult victory.” The coming year is likely to witness elections to the state assemblies of Tripura Meghalaya and Nagaland besides Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
While elections to Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland are scheduled to be held in February, elections to Karnataka are scheduled to be held in April May while that for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are scheduled towards the end of the year. With the improved show in Gujarat giving the much needed shot-in-the arm for the Congress, the party has already geared itself up for the assembly polls in these states which, political observers feel, could set the stage for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Talking about the Congress preparations for the coming assembly elections in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland, Congress leaders say that the party is already geared up for the polls in these states. ‘The leaders and workers of the Congress are looking forward to the assembly elections in the three states in the north east. We are extremely hopeful that we will retain power in Meghalaya for the third consecutive term and wrest power in Tripura and Nagaland,”AICC media in-charge Randeep Surjewala says.
Mr Surjewala said that the party would fight the Assembly polls unitedly and show to the people that just as was seen in the Gujarat assembly polls, the passion and hardwork among the Congress workers, is unmatched and that they are strongly connected with the sentiments of the public.
The polls to the northeastern states will be followed by elections in the state of Karnataka, where the Congress is in power. Though elections to the state of Karnataka are three to four months away, the party has already geared itself up for the assembly polls. Leaders of the Karnataka PCC earlier this week met Mr Gandhi to discuss the party’s strategy for the state Assembly elections.
In fact, the Congress on Tuesday held a marathon meeting with its top leaders and new office-bearers of the State unit to sharpen its poll strategy. At the meeting, it was decided that the party would attack the BJP, saying that the ruling party alone doesn’t have copyright over Hindutva.
Speaking at the meeting, attended by AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, KPCC president G Parameshwara and 200 new office-bearers, Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah told the cadre to counter BJP’s agenda of ”communal and Hindutva politics” aggressively by justifying the party’s role in safeguarding the Hindu religion since the country’s independence. “What the BJP is preaching is not Hinduism. They just want to divide society. We want to take along all communities and religion and move forward,” the Chief Minister stated in his address, sources in the Congress said.
Mr Siddaramaiah asked party’s office-bearers to organise booth-level committees in all 224 constituencies and said additional 50 votes in each booth would add up to 10,000 votes in each constituency. Mr Gandhi will kick-start the party campaign in the state from February 10. Mr Gandhi, who will visit the State for three days from February 10, will hold roadshows and corner meetings. He will address a Scheduled Tribes rally in Hosapete in Ballari on February 10, and attend a farmers’ meeting in Chickballapur and students’ meeting in Mysuru on February 11.
On February 12, he will address a mega rally of the State Congress in Bengaluru. The party is also gearing up for the high stakes battle for assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. With the Congress giving a tough fight to the BJP in the PM’s home state of Gujarat, the BJP would be under increasing pressure in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where the party is in power.
In fact, the recent successes in the local body elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are being seen by party leaders as a sign of upswing in favour of the Congress in these states. With the outcome of elections to these assembly states likely to serve as a indicator of the trend in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress would be looking to make a mark by unseating the BJP from power so as to set the stage for its return to power at the Centre.