Will Congress field Rahul Gandhi for Gujarat campaign?


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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 8: In another two days, the campaigning for the Himachal Pradesh would end, and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is likely to stay put in his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress national general secretary, is carrying the party’s campaign burden in the hilly state.

Gujarat is yet to see any of the Gandhis in action yet even while Prime Minister Narendra Modi after spending 11 days in the state in October has formally launched the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign in the state. Union Minister for Home Affairs and the former BJP chief Amit Shah is spending most of his time in Gujarat in line with his wont to micro-manage elections, which includes carpet-bombing with television interviews.

Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is staying away from the election campaign on health grounds. Her only public political appearance had been in joining her son during the Karnataka leg of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ last month. The Raisina Hills spoke to a top ranking Congress leader, who is part of the inner circle of Rahul Gandhi to know if the face of the party would skip election campaign.

“Priyanka is campaigning in Himachal Pradesh. She has been successful in carrying the responsibility. Rahul will also join the election campaign in Gujarat. We will share the dates soon,” he said, while requesting that he should not be quoted.

Rahul Gandhi is currently in Telangana for the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, and he’s likely to enter Maharashtra soon. It may be possible that he could take a break of a few days, which could be intermittent, to lead Congress campaign in Gujarat. While Congress is strategically seeking to see the Assembly elections stay local to blunt the BJP bid to turn spotlight on the national issues, Rahul Gandhi’s skipping Himachal polls is stated to be well thought out within the party circle.

“Women voters hold the key in Himachal Pradesh, and Priyanka is keeping the focus on the local issues. Congress has denied the BJP the scope to steer the Assembly elections in the state to the national issues. Let the BJP answer people’s questions on the restoration of the old pension scheme and unemployment. Rahul Gandhi by staying away from Himachal polls has denied the BJP the scope for distraction,” said another senior Congress functionary.

But Gujarat elections will not be on the lines of Himachal Pradesh, and Congress will have different strategy for the state. So far, Shaktinh Gohil has led the Congress campaign in Gujarat.

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