With the Gujarat police refusing him permission to travel in an open jeep, the Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, will begin his three-day campaign for state Assembly elections from the crucial Saurashtra region by taking out a bullock cart yatra.
Over a fortnight after his lively interaction with thousands of party workers at Ahmedabad Sabarmati Riverfront, The Gandhi scion is going out on a whirlwind tour of the Saurashtra region, which sends one-third of the legislators to the 182-member Assemly, from the religious town of Dwarka.
He will start by offering prayers at the Dwarkadheesh Krishna temple and then drive down to Jamnagar, interacting with locals at educational institutions, women and businessmen.
With the police denying him permission to cover the 135-km stretch by an open jeep and stage road shows citing security reasons, Gandhi would now be taking a specially done up luxury bus equipped with CCTV cameras.
However, this does not seem to have dampened the spirits of party workers. For instance, in Hanjrapar village 25 km from Dwarka, Mr. Gandhi will enter in a traditionally decked up bullock cart.
‘Not only his welcome but we have also made all sitting arrangements for everyone here, including that of Rahulji, in typical Saurashtra style," Palbhai Ambaliya said.
There are three levels of seating, said Ambaliya, who is the party's ticket aspirant to the Dwarka seat represented now Meraaman Ahir.
‘The first level will be sitting on the ground, just like the beginning of our civilisation when there were no cots or chairs. The next level is traditional cots, just as our civilisation progressed. The last level will be chairs, as is the modern world. For Rahulji, we have this special traditional cot.’
He will wrap up his tour at Viramgam on the entry to Ahmedabad district, which incidentally happens to be the home town of the Patidar agitation, spearheaded by Hardik Patel.
This region has been tough for the Congress for the last two decades and it won only 12 of the 52 seats here in the 2012 elections.
This time the Congress hopes to improve significantly, with the Patidar sentiment against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the overall farmer distress.
Congress hopes that Gandhi's staying put in the region for three days at a stretch will pep up the cadres and energize them to work for victory. Gandhi is also scheduled to make similar appearances in north, central and south Gujarat regions before the December elections.