In what appears to be an answer to counter BJP move of inviting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for its rally in Jaipur, the ruling party Congress has turned to its undisputedly most popular face Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul who is also national vice-president of the party will address tribal and farmer’s rally at Salumber in Udaipur district on September 11, a day after Modi’s rally in Jaipur. Another public rally of Rahul is scheduled in Baran district on September 17.
However, in doing so the state leadership has done exactly what the Central leadership has been trying hard to avoid — a comparison between Rahul and Modi. Now, both the rallies would be compared on numeric strength as well as speeches of Modi and Rahul. Especially, after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement: “Rahul ideal candidate for PM and I would be happy to work under him”. This once again revived the possibility of parliamentary elections turning into clash of personalities, something that the Congress has been trying to downplay.
Although, the Congress has been clever in choosing Salumber for Rahul’s rally, which is a tribal area and it has been strong support base of the party. This will help them steer clear of any comparison with Modi’s rally, who would be targeting urban and youth voters.
Congress had also announced gram sabhas on the day of Modi’s rally but withdrew it after the BJP lodged official complaint to the chief secretary and the move threatened to backfire politically as it was seen as a desperate attempt by the congress to fail Modi’s rally as it was afraid of his popularity.
The Congress is targeting strength of around 2 lakh tribals and farmers of Mewar region in the rally. Special meeting were convened of all the seven district congress committees in Mewar region for the preparation of the rally. Each district and block congress committee has been asked to ensure the presence of at least 5-6 people from every booth in their area.
Special transportation arrangements have been made to avoid the problem due to advance booking of vehicle for Modi’s rally a day before. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot too had visited Saulmber to inspect the groundwork prior to the proposed visit of Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi on 11th September.
Gehlot was accompanied by C.P Joshi, Chandrabhan and Gurudas Kamat. Unlike last assembly elections, this time also ruling congress has preferred to start its second round of election campaign from tribal area of Mewar region. If past records are scanned party which makes a clean sweep on 35 seats of Mewar generally comes to power in Rajasthan.