In 'Dialogue' With Party Workers, Rahul Gandhi Targets PM Modi

In the crucial election year, this was Rahul Gandhi's third visit to Gujarat, where his party has been out of power for nearly two decades.

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In 'Dialogue' With Party Workers, Rahul Gandhi Targets PM Modi

Rahul Gandhi said he was confident that the party would make a comeback in Gujarat this time. (AFP)


Ahmedabad:  Three months before the assembly elections in Gujarat, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi rolled out the poll campaign on Monday with what the party called a direct dialogue with its workers. But more than the recent troubles of the Congress, his address at the programme -- held at a waterfront on the picturesque banks of Sabarmati river -- was focused on attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the crucial election year, this was Mr Gandhi's third visit to Gujarat, where his party has been out of power for nearly two decades.  

Mr Gandhi said he was confident that the party would make a comeback this time. The reason, he said, was that the much-touted "model of development" in the state had "failed". The ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, were "scared" of the outcome of the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, he said. "This time, I firmly believe no one can stop the Congress from forming the next government in Gujarat," the 47-year-old added.

The state Congress recently weathered a massive storm after its state unit chief, Shankarsinh Vaghela, exited.  The party lost 14 of its 51 legislators in the 182-seat assembly -- 12 of them crossed over to the BJP.  

The crisis centred the Rajya Sabha elections in the state last month, in which party chief Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel was contesting.  Mr Patel won the election - barely - after a prolonged, bitter, late-night drama that was resolved with the disqualification of the votes of two Congress lawmakers, which brought down the number of votes he needed.

The party managed to win only one of the three seats in which elections were held. BJP chief Amit Shah made his debut from one, Union minister Smriti Irani was re-elected to the upper house from the other.   

Over the next few weeks, Mr Gandhi plans to plump up the Congress campaign with more visits and even a week-long yatra - a contrast from the BJP's sustained campaign.

Over the last several months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the state's Chief Minister,  and party chief Amit Shah have visited the state multiple times. Mr Shah has set up an election team that has hit the ground running. His trusted aide Bhupendra Yadav has been coordinating the campaign.

The party's slogan, "Garje Gujarat (Gujarat roaring)" has been actively pushed on social media. On Sunday, Mr Shah is expected to hold a video conference with one lakh young people.  "The theme song of this event will be out shortly. The missed call number is out and has been majorly put out on Twitter and Facebook," said Bhupendra Yadav.


Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019

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