Rahul’s Ch­hat­tis­garh tour from April 24

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTNATION -

NEW DELHI: Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi will launch his elec­tion cam­paign for Ch­hat­tis­garh with a pub­lic meet­ing at Si­ta­pur in Sur­guja district on April 24, nearly six months ahead of the assem­bly elec­tions in the state.

Gandhi will also at­tend a con­fer­ence on Pan­chay­ati Raj in Raipur the same day. Ch­hat­tis­garh, along with Mad­hya Pradesh and Ra­jasthan, will go to polls in Novem­ber-de­cem­ber this year.

Out of power in Ch­hat­tis­garh since 2003, the Congress is strug­gling to de­throne the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and three­term chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh. In 2016, the Congress suf­fered a ma­jor set­back af­ter its se­nior leader and for­mer chief min­is­ter Ajit Jogi quit the party to form a new po­lit­i­cal out­fit, Janata Congress Ch­hat­tis­garh.

Congress lead­ers feel Jogi could hurt their party’s chances by di­vid­ing the anti-bjp votes. How­ever, the for­mer CM has pitched him­self as the main chal­lenger to the BJP and dis­missed the Congress as a third force.

Prior to Jogi’s exit, the party’s en­tire front-line lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing Nand Ku­mar Pa­tel, Ma­hen­dra Karma, Gopal Mad­ha­van, Uday Ku­mar Mu­daliar and VC Shukla, was wiped out in a deadly Maoist at­tack in May 2013.

The op­po­si­tion party has a new team in Ch­hat­tis­garh with the ap­point­ment of PL Pu­nia as All In­dia Congress Com­mit­tee (AICC) in­charge, who will be as­sisted by Chan­dan Ya­dav. The chal­lenges for the team will be to re­vive and strengthen the Congress at the grassroots level and build a new lead­er­ship in the state. How­ever, the party lead­ers are con­fi­dent of oust­ing the BJP this time, ar­gu­ing that only 1% vote share sep­a­rates two par­ties. In the 2013 elec­tions, the BJP had a vote share of 41.04%, while the Congress se­cured 40.29%.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.