IN THE backdrop of rising fuel prices and agrarian distress, the Congress on Thursday launched the second phase of it’s Sangharsh Yatra in Maharashtra.
The focus of the second phase of the yatra will be assembly segments in north Maharashtra, which were once seen as a Congress stronghold. But in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the region had swung decisively in the favour of the BJP.
The party has planned protest rallies and sabhas in various constituencies in the region over the next six days in a bid to reach out to voters. “There is visible unrest against the ruling BJP government. But the key is in turning this dissenting vote in Congress’ favour,” a senior party leader said.
On Thursday, the party kicked off the second leg of the campaign at Faizpur in Jalgaon district. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also All India Congress Committee’s Maharashtra incharge, launched a scathing offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally he was presiding over.
“(PM) Narendra Modi must stop asking what has been done in the past six decades. He needs to start telling people what has he done during the last four years,” said Kharge, while accusing the Modi government of disrupting the social harmony and economic progress of the country.
“The Modi government and the BJP are flaring up communal and religious tensions for their own political gains. They are dividing the nation,” he added.
Former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, who is now the state Congress chief, and Sushil Kumar Shinde, among other senior leaders, were also present at the launch.
The Congress’ strategy, during the voter reach-out campaign, is to highlight the Modi government’s failures on the economic front, job generation and law and order. With Maharashtra witnessing the highest farmer suicides in the country, the Congress is also focussing on the agrarian crisis to capitalise on the unrest among various sections.
The first leg of the campaign last month had seen similar rallies and sabhas being held across western Maharashtra. Building up to the 2019 polls, the rallies are also planned at projecting the party’s choice candidate in the various assembly segments.
With the Congress campaign in Maharashtra hit by factionalism, the Sangharsh Yatra is aimed at bringing rival camps together.