The ruling BJP Tuesday announced that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will arrive in Dharampur taluka of Valsad district on February 13 to address party workers. The visit has been scheduled just a day ahead of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s public meeting in the taluka on February 14.
The Congress had on February 6 announced a Jan Akrosh Rally from Laldungri village in Dharampur taluka. Party spokesperson Manish Doshi had said that president Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by state party leaders, will launch the party’s campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Around 4,000 booth level workers from Surat, Valsad, Navsari, Dangs, along with public are expected to attend the event.
Leaders in the Congress believe that if the campaign in the state is launched from this village, the party would come to power. Notably, former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had launched Lok Sabha campaigns in 1980, 1984, and 2004, respectively, from this village.
However, the BJP is organising a Shakti Kendra Sammelan at Rajchandra Ashram in Dharampur.
Claiming that they were the first to organise an event in the taluka, state BJP general secretary Bharatsinh Parmar said, “We have fixed program at Dharampur earlier than Congress. The Shakti Kendra Sammelan is not to show strength but to energise party workers and leaders and tell them how to approach voters to request them for vote, with details of the work done by the BJP government in five years. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Gujarat BJP president Jitubhai Vaghani will attend Shakti Kendra Sammelan at Dharampur and address the party workers.”
According to party sources, Shakti Kendra presidents and others leaders from Surat, Navsari, Dangs and Valsad will attend the sammelan, along with Surat BJP MP Darshana Jardosh, Navsari BJP MP C R Patil, Valsad BJP MP K C Patel.
The organisers are expecting over 4,000 BJP leaders and workers of different party units were attend the event. “The reason for organising the event at Dharampur is that PM Narendra Modi had recently visited Surat and Navsari and many political programmes have been organised in Navsari and Surat. So this time we have decided to hold the event at Dharampur in Valsad district. The local party workers will be able to reach the destination more easily to attend the sammelan,” Parmar said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the last-minute announcement of the BJP event, Congress leader Gaurav Pandya said, “We had planned Rahul Gandhi’s public meeting at Dharampur much before the BJP. We can say that by organising their Shaktikendra Sammelan at Dharampur, they are copying us. Dharampur is an auspicious place for Congress and historically, whenever the Congress launched its poll campaign from here, it came to power at the centre. They could have held their meeting in Surat or in Navsari or any other place. They have done this intentionally to copy us.”
In the 2017 Assembly election, BJP candidate Arvind Patel had won from the Dharampur seat.