US trip over, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi now needs to impress natives in Gujarat poll campaign

After a slew of speeches in the United States, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi faces the real test of impressing the domestic audience when he will launch the Gujarat poll-yatra on Monday.

Published: 23rd September 2017 09:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2017 07:37 AM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had conducted similar yatras ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly polls this year but could not enthuse the voters. (File | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: After a slew of speeches in the US, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi faces the test of impressing domestic audience as he prepares to launch the Gujarat poll yatra on Monday. Although Rahul’s interactions with audiences in the US, where he touched upon issues related to foreign policy, politics, governance and economy, have won him accolades back home, it remains to be seen how he connects with the locals during the yatra, which will be launched from Dwarka in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

Rahul had conducted similar yatras ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls this year but failed to enthuse the voters. During the first phase of the Gujarat yatra, Rahul is expected to exchange views with villagers, traders and professionals. He is likely to focus on the plight of farmers, small businesses and talk about jobs for youth.

These interactions are crucial for the Congress vice-president as he is betting heavily on the coming assembly polls in Gujarat where his party has been out of power for 19 years, said the party insiders.
However, turning the tide in the western state is going to be an uphill task for Rahul who has to rely on a divided state unit to take his message to the masses, said a senior AICC functionary. Those who has assumed that the exit of rebel Shankersinh Vaghela would help the Gujarat Congress stay united, are probably wrong.

Last month Rahul appointed four working presidents Tushar Chaudhary, Paresh Dhanani, Kuwarji Bawalia and Karsan Das Sonali, in the state and named senior leader Siddharth Patel as the campaign committee chief in a move being seen as an attempt to contain the state unit chief, Bharatsinh Solanki.

Amid factional fights, the state unit went into a huddle to ensure the smooth proceedings of the poll-yatra.
All India Congress Committee secretaries Rajeev Satav, Varsha Gaikwad, Harshvardhan Sapkal and Jitu Patwari, in charge of the four zones into which the state has been divided, reviewed the preparations along with senior state leaders.

Another All India Congress committee secretary Prakash Joshi has been deputed to coordinate Rahul’s yatras with the local teams.

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