Life in Gurgaon

‘Ram Bhakt’ Rahul Gandhi to address farmers’ rally in Bhopal today

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who will kick off his party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha election in Madhya Pradesh with a farmers’ rally in Bhopal on Friday, is being shown as a Ram Bhakt, who will build the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and the future prime minister in posters put up to welcome him.

This will be Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to the state after the Congress formed the government in Madhya Pradesh in December last year after a gap of 15 years.

The Congress won the assembly elections held in November last year with 114 seats of the 230 seats in the state. Analysts say that by and large farmers voted for the Congress, and the loan waiver announced by Rahul Gandhi before the state election proved to be a game-changer for his party.

And, there are 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh and the Congress holds three of them. They had won only two seats in the 2014 election – chief minister Kamal Nath from Chhindwara and Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna. In 2015, Kantilal Bhuria won the Jhabua-Ratlam by-election following the death of Dileep Singh Bhuria.

At Friday’s campaign called the “Aabhar” or gratitude rally, he is expected to announce employment schemes for the urban youth and starting of unemployment benefit, both of which had been promised by the Congress government in its election manifesto.

“Rahulji and the Congress party want to thank the people, and especially the farmers, for ensuring a victory for the Congress in the state elections and we will seek their continued support in the Lok Sabha elections,” the state’s Congress media cell head Shobha Oza said.

In the run-up to the assembly election in November 2018, Gandhi was portrayed as a Shiva Bhakt or the Shiva devotee, which was soon after his visit to Kailash Mansarovar. And this time, he is being depicted as a Ram Bhakt at a time when the issue of construction of the Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya has captured the space in the political discourse of the country.

Oza said that declaring Gandhi as a Ram Bhakt and a future prime minister is just the love and affection of the party workers. So, as far as the construction of a Ram temple goes, the party has made it clear that they will abide by the Supreme Court ruling, she said.

According to his schedule, Gandhi will reach the Bhopal airport at around 1pm and will eat lunch there. He will take a helicopter to Jamboori Maidan at around 2.30pm and address the rally and leave for Delhi at around 4.30pm. Chief minister Kamal Nath, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Congress party state in-charge Deepak Babaria, former state president Arun Yadav among others will be present.

Oza said that the arrangement for the rally will be done solely by the Congress party and nothing would be taken from the government and they expect thousands of people to take in the rally.

“Unlike the BJP who misused government machinery for their party programmes, the Congress government will not use any resources from the government. Everything will be arranged by party workers,” she said.

BJP president Rakesh Singh said that by portraying Rahul Gandhi as Ram’s devotee and the future prime minister is the compulsion of the Congressmen.

“There can be no one else. The top job is reserved for the Gandhi family. But it is not necessary that the country will think the way the Congress is thinking,” Singh said.