Ahmedabad: The Congress has decided to focus on its strongholds in Gujarat–the central and the tribal belt– in the Lok Sabha polls, to deny BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi a clean sweep in the state.
The BJP has kept the target of winning all the 26 seats of the state to give a boost to the leadership of Modi from his home state.
Though the BJP has performed well in the assembly elections, its performance in the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha in Gujarat has been average.
“Although an atmosphere has been created that there is a Modi wave, but we have worked to ensure that the Lok Sabha election results in Gujarat will not be as it is being predicted,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
“We will win almost the same seats as that of last time, or even one or two seats more,” he said.
In 2009, Congress had won 11 out of the total 26 Lok Sabha seats, while in 2004 it had won 12 seats.
The focus areas for the Congress is Central Gujarat, the tribal belt apart from some seats in Saurashtra, which the party is hoping to surely win.
The Central Gujarat region comprising six seats in the tribal belt stretching from Banaskantha in north to Valsad in South Gujarat, and some seats of Saurashtra and Kutch have been classified as Grade ‘A’ seats by the Congress in Gujarat.
The Central Gujarat region and the tribal belt have strongly backed the Congress inspite of wave in favour of BJP after the 2002 riots.
“The Congress has completed its meticulous planning before selection of candidates by identifying its strong and weak seats,” party spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
“We have divided Lok Sabha seats in grade A, B, C and D. Accordingly, we declared names of candidates on our strong seats ahead of the BJP, which has put that party on the back foot,” Doshi said.
“It was difficult for BJP to select candidates on our strong seats and they had no option but to go for some Congress turncoats like in Surendranagar seat of Saurashtra where they have given ticket to our assembly election candidate Devji Fatehpura who lost from Chotila,” Doshi said.
“The party high command has given much thought in selection of candidates on our A grade seats and on other seats also,” he said.
The party has also focused on campaigning in their strongholds to maximise the gains in such seats.
It has also held rallies and meetings in tribal belts, where senior leaders like Ahmed Patel have campaigned.
Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during his two visit to the state to campaign had addressed rallies in tribal seat of Chotta Udepur and one seat of Central Gujarat and had also interacted with salt pan workers in Surendranagar district.