Mumbai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to launch the party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Maharashtra from Dhule on March 1, sources said on Monday. The Congress is also planning a rally of recently- appointed party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the state next month, they said.
Rahul Gandhi’s rally will follow two joint public meetings of the Congress and NCP on February 20 and February 23, to be held in Nanded and Beed respectively. The joint rallies will be attended by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge along with other leaders of the two parties and their allies. The Lok Sabha polls are expected to be held in April-May, the schedule of which is yet to be declared.
“Rahulji will be in Dhule to campaign for the party. This will be his first rally in the poll season,” a source said. The rally is being organised in Dhule since it would be convenient for the party workers from the district and neighbouring Jalgaon and Nandurbar to attend it, he said. Congress leaders from Maharashtra have requested the party president to address four-five rallies in the state, he added.
When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s rally, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said, “We are in the process. We are planning a rally in Dhule, but all this is yet to be finalised officially.” The Congress, which is joining forces with other like-minded parties, is seeking a return to power after its drubbing in the 2014 parliamentary elections at the hands of the resurgent BJP. The party had managed to win only two seats – Nanded (represented by Chavan) and Hingoli (held by Rajeev Satav) – in the last Lok Sabha polls. Maharashtra sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha, second highest after 80 from Uttar Pradesh.