Having promised to focus on the elections in Karnataka soon after the completion of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will land in Karnataka on Monday to kick-start his tour amidst high-voltage poll campaigns by the BJP and JDS.
Gandhi will begin the first leg of the election tour along with the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge where he will attend the ‘Yuvakranti Samavesha’ in Belagavi and unveil the Congress’s fourth poll promise that will cater to the youth of the state.
In January this year, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra announced the Gruha Lakshmi scheme, which promised Rs 2,000 per month to all women-led households, if voted to power in Karnataka. The announcement was made at the women’s meet called Naa Nayaki (I am a woman leader) in Bengaluru.
Apart from this monthly monetary support scheme, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah announced two other promises — to provide 200 units of free electricity every month to all households in the state under the Gruha Jyothi scheme and 10 kilograms of rice monthly to all BPL families under the Anna Bhagya scheme. This scheme was among the first announcements made by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah as soon as he took charge in 2013.
The Karnataka Congress, sources say, will announce a total of five poll promises for the state which they seek to fulfill if voted to power.
This will be Rahul Gandhi’s first election rally address after his return from the United Kingdom. According to the travel schedule shared by the party, both Kharge and Gandhi will arrive at the Belagavi airport via a special flight at 12.50pm and head towards the CPED grounds in the North Karnataka city to address the Yuva Dhwani (Youth’s Voice) public meeting. Gandhi is expected to be in Karnataka for just a day and will return to New Delhi at 3.45pm after the public meeting.
Senior Congress leaders confirmed that he would visit the poll-bound southern state almost every week and both Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi will address rallies across Karnataka, individually and jointly.
The final list of Congress candidates that is being drawn up by the Pradesh Election Committee will also be discussed with Gandhi, it is learned. The party’s state leadership invited applications from aspirants in November last year and has seen over 2,500 applicants vying for tickets from the Grand Old Party.
At a time when the ruling BJP has raised the poll pitch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making over six visits in less than three months apart from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and senior Union ministers and BJP leaders, Karnataka is already feeling the heat even before elections have been formally announced.
The Congress hopes that Rahul Gandhi will help galvanise more voters to support the party apart from the impact the Congress has made through the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and Praja Dhwani yatras taken out by three senior leaders — Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, and BK Hariprasad. The party also held door-to-door campaigns by Congress workers who distributed a “guarantee card”, assuring that poll promises would be fulfilled if voted to power.
Apart from these, the 40 per cent commission and PayCM campaign launched to attack the BJP have been successful for the party.
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