Congress pins hopes on Rahul,plans whirlwind tour in Modi land ahead of Lok Sabha polls

In the absence of a strong leader at the state level,a desperate Congress has pinned its hopes on Rahul Gandhi,who is set to visit the state again and tour Saurashtra region for the first time.

Written by Hiral Dave | Rajkot | Published: February 11, 2009 1:57:30 am

In the absence of a strong leader at the state level,a desperate Congress has pinned its hopes on Rahul Gandhi,who is set to visit the state again and tour Saurashtra region for the first time.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi has begun the BJP’s campaign by visiting villages and reaching out to women voters through the Swarnim Jot Yatra and Women Convention. Rahul’s scheduled whirlwind tour in Saurashtra and South Gujarat apparently aims to achieve similar objectives – make an appeal to youths,and rural and coastal voters. With the 15th Lok Sabha elections round the corner,Rahul’s visit is expected to solve one of the major problems haunting the party in the state for the last few years – lack of momentum at the grassroots level and vacuum at the top.

During his two-day tour of Porbandar,Amreli and Bhavnagar beginning February 12 and Rajkot on February 17,he will meet young party members and traditional voters of the Congress who have recently leaned towards the BJP because of Modi’s charisma. He will meet fishermen,students,and women,besides interacting with members of different social groups.

For the first time,the party will finalise the names of candidates for the membership of Youth Congress through the process of election rather than selection. It is Rahul’s brainchild,who is also the general secretary of Youth Congress.

The state Congress leaders appreciate Rahul’s charisma. “For the first time,youths are showing tremendous interest in joining a political party. The change can be attributed to the new process of election within the organisation introduced by Rahul,” said Porbandar MLA Arjun Modhvadia.

After visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace,Kirti Madir,Rahul will interact with fishermen,who were won over by the BJP in large numbers in the last Assembly elections over the issue of Saagarkhedu Yojana. At Bhavnagar,Rahul will talk to all the elected leaders of the local body,who are below 35,said party leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

“He is a youth icon and can really help strengthen the base of Gujarat Congress,” he said. At Amreli,Rahul will interact with students,he added.

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