CHITTORGARH: Putting up a united front of its state leaders, the Congress would launch its campaign for the upcoming assembly elections with its first “Sankalp rally” from Chittorgarh on Friday. The party plans to hold a ‘Sankalp rally’ in each of the seven divisions of the state over the next one month.

The opposition party has chosen the temple town of Sanwaliaji, around 40-km from here, to counter the ruling BJP that has been rallying supporters on religious lines with chief minister Vasundhara Raje scheduling temple visits in each phase of her ‘Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra’.

The Udaipur division with its six districts of Chittorgarh, Pratapgarh, Banswara, , Rajsamand and Udaipur has 28 assembly seats and holds the key to government formation in state elections. For the past few decades, both the principal political parties, Congress and BJP, have been launching their poll campaigns from this division, which also has a sizeable tribal population.

The Congress, which seems to be riding on the antiincumbency wave against the BJP state government, looked upbeat about its prospects in the coming elections. “In the past four years, we have won 20 of the 22 assembly segment bypolls. This shows the people want a Congress government in the state,” Congress state president Sachin Pilot told TOI on Thursday. Pilot, who oversaw preparations for the ‘Sankalp rally’ from Udaipur and Chittorgarh on Thursday, alleged that government funds were being misused to campaign for BJP through yatras.

Attacking chief minister Raje for her ‘Gaurav (honour) Yatra’, Pilot said, “She should be taking out a ‘paschatap (regret) yatra’ for plunging the state into miseries like crime against women, lynching, corruption, atrocities against SC/ST and farmer suicides.” Pilot wondered why the CM was unable to answer any of the questions that Congress was asking on each day of her ‘Gaurav Yatra’. “When our daughters are unsafe, our farmers are in debts and our youth is unemployed, how can it be paraded as ‘gaurav’ for the state?” asked Pilot, questioning Raje’s Yatra.

Senior Congress leaders, including AICC general secretaries Ashok Gehlot, Avinash Pande, C P Joshi, Jitendra Singh and leader of opposition Rameshwar Dudi, among others, would be attending the Sankalp rallies, to send out a message to people that the party’s state leadership was united. The BJP, which has already declared Raje as its chief ministerial candidate for coming elections, has been accusing the state Congress of being a party divided between its senior leaders. During a rally in Jaipur on August 11, Congress president Rahul Gandhi went overboard in making Pilot and Gehlot hug each other in public view to emphasise that his party leaders were united.
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