Why Is Rahul Gandhi Staying Away From Poll-Bound Gujarat?

Gujarat assembly elections are a few weeks away. The election campaign in Gujarat has started to pick pace. But a major star campaigner of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi seems to be keeping himself away from the Gujarat assembly polls. He is now in Maharashtra. From November 20 to December 5 Rahul Gandhi will take up ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Madhya Pradesh.

From Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi could have walked into Gujarat, the state next door. But he has not planned to do so.

In 2017, Rahul Gandhi was the top campaigner of Congress in the Gujarat assembly elections. But this time he has not preferred to do so. It seems Congress strategists must have skipped Gujarat from the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ for a special reason. Rahul Gandhi also did not prefer to campaign in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh.

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Meanwhile, Congress’ lackluster campaign in Gujarat has become a gain for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal through repeated visits to Gujarat is trying to pass on the message that instead of the Congress, his party is the alternative to the BJP in Gujarat. After Delhi and Punjab, Congress faces the prospect of AAP overtaking it in another state.

But there can be a bigger game plan behind this recent attitude of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. Through this, the Congress think-tank may be involved in a major image-building exercise for Rahul Gandhi. By sticking to the schedule of his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and not campaigning in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi is trying to pass on the message that he as well as the Congress are not power hungry. ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is being publicised as a non-political activity. Through it, Rahul Gandhi may be trying to reach the masses posing as a political leader, who is not greedy to grab power. Apart from it, Rahul Gandhi will not get blamed for the debacles of the Congress in assembly polls. This may be part of a long-term plan of the Congress party eyeing the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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