Even as the preparations are on in full swing for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's three-day “Sadbhavana Mission” fast from September 17, the State Congress is planning to launch a counter-fast the same day to deny the BJP the political advantage.

The Congress is expected to officially announce the counter-fast programme on Thursday. Party sources said the former Chief Minister, Shankarsinh Waghela, who has just been appointed the chief of the Congress election campaign committee, would launch the fast at the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram.

The party sources said if his health permitted, Mr. Waghela would continue the fast indefinitely. But in any case it would be more than the three-day programme of Mr. Modi. Some other senior State Congress leaders, including State party president Arjun Modhvadia, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, and former Deputy Chief Minister Narhari Amin, are also likely to join the fast with Mr. Waghela for various durations.

Mr. Modi's venue for the three-day fast to “further strengthen the peace, harmony and development” of the State, will be the sprawling exhibition hall of the Gujarat University in the posh Drive-in cinema locality in Ahmedabad, about 5 km from the Sabarmati Ashram.

A huge stage was being erected at the centrally airconditioned exhibition hall as a large number of BJP leaders and workers are expected to join Mr. Modi.

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