GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
Powered by cricketnext logo
»
2-min read

Rahul Gandhi Begins Karnataka Poll Campaign from Where Sonia Made Her Debut 19 Years Ago

As a senior Karnataka Congress leader puts it, the party is fighting not just a state Assembly election. This is the semi-finals for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Karnataka poll campaign will be Rahul Gandhi's first as the Congress president. It will be his real big test too.

D P Satish | CNN-News18dp_satish

Updated:February 10, 2018, 9:19 AM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Rahul Gandhi Begins Karnataka Poll Campaign from Where Sonia Made Her Debut 19 Years Ago
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi (PTI)
Bengaluru: When Rahul Gandhi’s aircraft lands at a small runway near Bellary to officially kick off the “do or die” Karnataka poll campaign on Saturday, Congress leaders will certainly remind him that his mother Sonia Gandhi also arrived at the same airstrip 19 years ago to fight her maiden election. Like Rahul, his mother too was a newly elected leader of the Congress which was looking directionless after series of poll debacles and desertions by some top leaders, including Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee. Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee also looked invincible.

In that 1999 election, Sonia Gandhi won from Bellary and brought Congress back to power in Karnataka under SM Krishna. But she had to suffer defeat at the hands of Vajpayee in New Delhi.

Even though situation is not exactly the same today, there are many similarities. The impressive performance in Gujarat Assembly polls and a remarkable turnaround in Rajasthan by-polls have boosted the sagging morale of the Congress.

Partymen in Karnataka think that it is their chance to make big gains ahead of Lok Sabha elections next year. They feel that if Chief Minister Siddaramaiah manages to retain Karnataka for the Congress, it will reverse the fortunes in favour of the grand old party across India.

As a senior Karnataka Congress leader puts it, the party is fighting not just a state Assembly election. This is the semi-finals for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Karnataka poll campaign will be Rahul Gandhi's first as the Congress president. It will be his real big test too.

After landing at the Jindal airstrip, Rahul will take a helicopter ride to Hospet near Hampi, the world heritage site and the capital of Vijayanagara empire.

Interestingly he will crisscross Hyderabad - Karnataka region for four days by bus. He will address his first rally at Hospet. The state Congress top brass is making all possible efforts to make it a huge success. The sitting BJP MLA from Hospet Anand Singh will officially join the Congress in his presence.

After that he will visit the famous Huligemma temple nearby before crossing the river Tungabhadra to enter Koppal district. In Koppal, he will pay a visit Gavi Siddeshwara mutt before addressing a few public meetings.

The Congress president will reach Raichur by Sunday evening. After spending half a day there, he will cross the mighty Krishna river to enter party stalwart Mallikarjuna Kharge's strongholds of Gulbarga and Yadagiri districts. The party is faction ridden in this Lingayat, Muslim and Dalit stronghold. Rahul may have to handle some tricky situations there.

In Gulbarga, he will visit the famous Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah which is a holy place to both Hindus and Muslims.

On the fourth and last day Rahul Gandhi will tour the northernmost district of Bidar before returning to New Delhi. In Bidar, he will visit the Anubhava Mantapa at Basava Kalyana founded by the 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara or Basavanna. On Thursday, PM Modi invoked Basavanna to counter Congress' claim that Nehru is the father of democracy in India. He had mentioned that Anubhava Mantapa was India's first experiment with democracy.

Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge will accompany Rahul during his four day road trail in Karnataka.

Also Watch

| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
Read full article
Next Story
Next Story
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp

Live TV