Congress is prepared than ever before, says party leader Indranil Rajguru

Rutam Vora Rajkot | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on November 13, 2017

Betting big on the organised campaigning and the anger among the masses over the Centre’s policies, Congress leader and sitting Rajkot East MLA, Indranil Rajguru, spoke to BusinessLine on what gives him the confidence to take on Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West. He also spells out what is different about the Congress this time, and how the BJP has faltered. Excerpts:

What makes you think that you can pull off an upset?

[I can]...provided he doesn’t leave his seat and run away. In the past, the BJP contested from here and won. Because we had our weak faces contesting against them.

If they were contesting with 100 per cent preparedness, we were at only 20-25 per cent. In spite of that, the vote margin wasn’t that great. Now, we have raised our preparedness to 60 per cent — if not 100 — so this will be reflected in the results.

Our poll infrastructure had completely collapsed in these years. I’ve re-built it and the cadre too. Organisation building will become Congress’ strength this time. Rajkot knows both of us personally. Vijay bhai and I have had the same beginning in public life — as standing committee chairman in the local body. Between the two of us, people will chose me. I have lived listening to the voice of the people.

Vijay bhai is fighting a battle without a general here. BJP’s own party men are angry with the government. There is no enthusiasm on the ground.

Do you think demonetisation and the GST rollout will benefit you, especially since Rajkot has a concentration of businessmen?

People are very upset. The businesses are shut, and growth is no where to be seen. BJP has banked on the business and elite class till now and avoided the backward areas. This will hurt them.

Now, we see door-to-door campaigning by Vijay bhai to appease the poor and lower strata of the society. Whey do they need to do it now? Because, they have realised that they are losing the support of the white-collar voters.

Now everyone is angry with them, irrespective of caste, religion or occupation. We expect a 10 per cent swing in our favour due to this.

How crucial is the caste factor for you to win?

Patidar and Brahmins are the crucial voter base in this constituency, having about 25 per cent of the total votes. They have been traditionally BJP voters, but I will be able to convert them.

On the other hand, I will also work to increase the voting from the Congress supporters. These factors will fall for me.

On Patidar reservation, not just Patidars, but the youth from entire Gujarat is angry and they will support us. Be it Thakores, Dalits, or Patidars. The youth wants a change and they don’t want BJP.

Are you confident that the Congress will give you your desired seat?

Of the 182 seats, this seat was reserved (for me) about a year ago. Vijay bhai has set a winning margin target of 50,000 votes. It is his speciality that he doesn’t hesitate in giving superfluous numbers. I keep a conservative estimate of about 10,000-15,000 votes for me.

Published on November 13, 2017
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