This Article is From May 08, 2018

After 2 Years, Sonia Gandhi To Hit Campaign Trail In Karnataka

Karnataka assembly elections: Sonia Gandhi will address a rally in Vijaypura at 3 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also address a rally in the constituency today.

After 2 Years, Sonia Gandhi To Hit Campaign Trail In Karnataka

Sonia Gandhi has not campaigned for almost two years. (File)

Bengaluru: Two years after she quit an election rally midway in Varanasi, Sonia Gandhi will hit the campaign trail today in Karnataka, where assembly elections will be held on Saturday.  Her chosen spot is Vijayapura -- a constituency which has a date with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.

Mrs Gandhi will address a rally in Vijaypura, at 3 pm, two hours after PM Modi.

The BJP, which has been fighting hard to wrest the state from the Congress, tweeted: 
The 71-year-old UPA chairperson has not been well for some time. She was taken ill during the rally in Varanasi ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and had to be admitted at a Delhi hospital.

She did not take part any campaign since, although elections were held in more than half-a-dozen states -- Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland. Last December, soon after the Gujarat elections, she handed charge of the Congress to her son Rahul Gandhi.

Sources told NDTV that Mrs Gandhi was a last minute addition to the campaign after Rahul Gandhi prevailed on her last week to address the rally. Many party leaders in Karnataka were not aware of the decision. "It is the central party's decision,'' they told NDTV.

Sources in the Congress pointed out that they wanted to cash in on the party's historical connect with Karnataka. It was in Chikmagalur, now Chikkamagalur, where Indira Gandhi won a decisive victory in the post-emergency election in 1978. Sonia Gandhi won against Sushma Swaraj from Bellary, now Ballari, in 1999.

Mrs Gandhi's joining the campaign in Karnataka is seen as yet another signal of the weight the Congress is giving to the election in the state. Karnataka is among a handful of states the party currently rules and a victory here will come as a huge morale booster ahead of next year's general election.

Up against a tough BJP campaign spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress has deployed all its senior leaders to campaign in Karnataka, keeping Mr Siddaramaiah and the local leaders at the forefront. Yesterday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also in Karnataka as part of the campaign.

Mr Gandhi, who has been flying in and out of Karnataka for the last few months, has decided to camp out there in the last stretch. After an intense campaign in Kolar, he addressed the eminent citizens at an interaction this morning in Bengaluru. Later in the day, he is expected to address a meeting in Chikaballapur and then one in Tumkur, both in south Karnataka.  

Campaigning ends in Karnataka on Thursday and the votes will be counted on May 15 - three days after Saturday's election.