The political upheaval in Rajasthan is likely to rub off on the Gujarat Congress, which braces for a tough election in December under the stewardship of Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior observer for the State polls Ashok Gehlot and Health Minister and Gujarat affairs in-charge Raghu Sharma sucked into their own politicking.
What also queers the pitch is that the route of Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra” has left out Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the two states going to polls simultaneously, while Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is bogged down with the national party president elections next month.
What this also means is that the divided and rudderless Gujarat unit of the Congress has been left to its own devices to fight an election where Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has emerged as a serious contender for the key Opposition space, if not the ruling party.
These developments have left the Congress rank and file wondering if the proposed campaign tour of Priyanka Gandhi during the 9-day Navratri garba festival, which started on Monday, where she is also expected to play the popular garba – Gujarat’s longest traditional dance festival in the world. Priyanka is also likely to address a massive women’s convention in the State.
Gujarat Congress insiders are not confident if she would come since Priyanka has yet not confirmed anything nor has the central leadership. State Congress chief spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “Our party has launched the election preparations at full swing. Our yatra begins from Rajkot tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Asked about Priyanka Gandhi’s schedule, Doshi said, “We have invited her to play garba, offer prayers at Mataji (famous temple of Goddess Amba Mata in Ambaji town of North Gujarat) and address a mahila sammelan. Priyanka-ji has not replied to us as yet but a delay in it could be because the Bharat Jodo yatra is underway.”
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former union minister Bharatsinh Solanki said, “The campaign programme of Priyanka Gandhi is getting ready. Talks are underway in Delhi on which day and what programmes she could attend. The exact schedule will be announced soon.”