Rahul Gandhi’s visit sets momentum for Congress in Karnataka, but will it last till polls?

His tour after CM’s Sadhana Samavesha has party cadre in high spirits, but Congress will have to face BJP onslaught.

Published: 14th February 2018 05:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2018 08:45 AM   |  A+A-

Rahul Gandhi pays a visit to Anubhava Mantap at Basavakalyan in Bidar on Tuesday. | Express Photo Services

Express News Service

KALABURAGI: Following AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s four-day Karnataka visit, which ended on Tuesday, the Congress party in the state seems to have succeeded in sustaining the political momentum set by the month-long state-wide tour of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

But the challenge ahead for the party will be to withstand the onslaught of the election machine of the BJP in the run-up to the assembly poll.

Though Siddaramaiah had claimed that his tour was to lay foundation stones and inaugurate various development works of his government, it was no secret that he did it for strengthening the party as well as consolidating his position, in which he succeeded to a large extent.

Since the party has also relied upon him entirely to win back the state, it has let him free to take decisions, including inducting leaders from other parties.Rahul’s first visit to the state after assuming charge as the party president also served its purpose.

Wherever he visited in Hyderabad- Karnataka region, he got a rousing reception. Whether it is a groundswell of support for the party, one will have to wait until election results.

The party leaders in the region have, meanwhile, struggled a lot to convince their leadership that people are inclined towards the party despite anti-incumbency.Despite cheering a lot for Rahul, it, however, seems that people still don’t have confidence in his leadership, either due to his public image or because of his failing to win any elections convincingly in the past.

But their perception about Siddaramaiah is quite opposite. It was evident from loud and long cheers whenever his name was mentioned either by Rahul or other leaders.

Soft Hindutva:

The Gujarat election has changed the Congress party’s approach towards Hindu votesRahul’s visit to Huligemma temple near Hosapete, Gavisiddeshwar Mutt in Koppal, Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Kanakagiri and Sharana Basaveshwar temple in Kalaburagi holds political significance.This is seen as a bid to counter hard Hindutva of the BJP. As a balancing act, the party also chose to take Rahul to visit dargah of Khwaja Bande Nawaz at Kalaburagi.Rahul has defended his temple-hopping exercise. But there are chances of this strategy backfiring as the BJP could be brutal in countering him.

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