Kerala

Rahul to launch State-level Cong. campaign today

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But party’s line-up for most of the 16 seats it plans to contest is not yet in place

Two days after launching the Congress national election campaign in Ahmedabad with an aggressive attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and unveiling a minimum income guarantee scheme as the Congress's main poll promise, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is kicking off the party’s Kerala campaign in Kozhikode on Thursday.

The Congress and other United Democratic Front allies, mainly the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), are going the extra mile to make the launch event spectacular. Congress and IUML activists from six northern districts are expected to show up for the rally and the meeting, to be held on the Kozhikode beach. Kodikunnil Suresh, State working president of the Congress, told mediapersons on Wednesday that “at least one lakh” party workers would converge on the beach to listen to Rahul Gandhi. Senior leaders of the IUML would share the dais with Mr. Gandhi.

However, while the campaign would be launched on Thursday, the Congress candidate line-up for most of the 16 seats it plans to contest is not yet in place. As a result, the probable candidates are missing out on being introduced to the electorate by the top party leader at the launch. Though a few candidates have informally started their campaign, they know pretty well that anything can happen at the last minute and that they might have to cut a sorry figure if they are denied the party ticket.

Unlike in the past, the Congress across the State is fairly prepared for the polls at the grassroots level. The party's stunning victories in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in December last had given an energy booster dose to the Congress in Kerala too.

This had put the party in a positive mental frame and encouraged the leaders to be prepared for the polls. The rejuvenation of the various party committees by the new State president Mullappally Ramachandran too has helped.

Against this backdrop, party leaders and grassroots-level activists are enthusiastic about Mr. Gandhi's campaign launch. One of the main reasons for the winning of the three States in the December election was the aggressive campaign by Mr. Gandhi. He had addressed 82 campaign rallies where he had taken Mr. Modi head on. At the Ahmedbad rally on Tuesday, Mr. Gandhi unleashed a relentless attack on Mr. Modi. Party activists here hope Mr. Gandhi's presence at the Kozhikode rally would put the Congress campaign in top gear.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:15:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rahul-to-launch-state-level-cong-campaign-today/article26522230.ece

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