The Gujarat Congress on Wednesday took out a rally in Saurashtra region in a bid to woo Patidars by visiting temples associated with the community, ahead of the state Assembly elections due in December this year. Senior party leaders started the day-long rally, titled ”Chalo Congress ke saath, Maa ke dwar”, by garlanding a statue of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Rajkot city.
The rally will cover Khodaldham (in Rajkot district) and Sidsar (Junagadh), known for temples of the reigning deities of Leuva and Kadva sub-castes of Patidar, a numerically significant community in the state.
In 2017, the opposition Congress had won 30 out of 54 Assembly seats in Saurashtra. The Congress is now confident of winning 125 out of the total 182 seats in Gujarat, state party chief Jagdish Thakor told reporters here before the rally started. Congress leaders and supporters joined the rally on several two and four-wheelers.
”During (the ongoing) Navratri festival, we are going to offer prayers at the temples of Maa Umiya and Maa Khodiyar for a happy and prosperous Gujarat. Now that the state has emerged from the dark period of COVID-19 pandemic, we will offer prayers for the people of the state,” Thakor said.
”The enthusiasm seen among Congress workers who have gathered since morning to take part in the yatra clearly proves the party is going to form the next government by winning 125 seats,” he said. Rajya Sabha member and Congress national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, who also participated in the rally, said the party is reaching out to the public with a positive agenda and to listen to the issues faced by the people.
Saurashtra region MLAs Lalit Kagathara, Rutvik Makwana and Ambrish Der and other party leaders are also participating in the yatra that will reach Khodaldham temple, where Patidar leader Naresh Patel will welcome them.
Patel is the chairman of the Khodhaldham trust which manages the temple of Maa Khodiyar, local deity of the Leuva Patidar community. The rally will pass through Gathila village and conclude at Sidsar village in Junagadh district. Both the villages are known for the temples of Maa Umiya, the reigning deity of the Kadva Patidar community.