Cong, BJP gear up for 2019 LS battle

Cong, BJP gear up for 2019 LS battle
New Delhi, Jul 22 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/23/2018 12:17:42 AM IST
As both BJP, its NDA allies and the disparate opposition gear up for the big fight in 2019, the Congress has given its president Rahul Gandhi the ‘green signal’ to forge alliances and also as the party candidate for prime minister.
This was decided at the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on July 22 held in the party headquarters here. 
The decision about Rahul Gandhi being the final word on alliances came amid perceptions that Sonia Gandhi had a wider acceptability among present and potential allies and was better placed to negotiate with them. 
The CWC discussed preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as also its readiness to take on the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh- where elections will be held at the end of this year. It also discussed Mizoram where elections are due this year. 
With the party having suffered electorally due to “indiscreet remarks” of some of its leaders close to elections, Rahul Gandhi emphasised on “gravitas of the language and conduct” and to keeping the party line in mind while making statements. Rahul Gandhi added that Congress can come together with other parties and win the coming elections. “After that, the damage done by the BJP & RSS to India’s institutions will have to be undone. Only the Congress can do this”.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party president was also authorised to form a small committee for the purpose, if needed as well as campaign committees and other panels for 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, in her remarks at the meeting, Sonia Gandhi cited “the reign of despair and fear heaped upon India’s deprived and poor” and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rhetoric “shows his desperation reflecting that reverse countdown of Modi government has begun”.
People will reject Rahul, says BJP
Attacking the Gandhi scion over his speech at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Sunday, BJP’s national media in-charge Anil Baluni said the people will reject him in the next general election.
In a series of tweets, he also claimed that the Congress had decided to contest only 150 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, while Gandhi was dreaming to become the prime minister. “Heard that desperate and disappointed Congress at its meeting today has set a target of contesting 150 Lok Sabha seats, while its president Rahul Gandhi is dreaming to become prime minister,” Baluni tweeted in Hindi.
Referring to the Congress chief’s hug to Modi during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the BJP leader said it was done forcibly. “Rahul ji, you forcibly hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament but people will not hug you in the 2019 general election. You should prepare yourself for bringing a no-confidence motion in 2024,” he tweeted.
BJP president Amit Shah has said the defeat faced by the Opposition in the no-trust vote in Parliament is just a “glimpse” of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results and a reflection of people’s faith in the Modi Government and its mantra of ‘sab ka sath sab ka vikas’.
With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address 50 rallies across the country by February next year, covering more than 100 Lok Sabha constituencies, party sources said. BJP chief Amit Shah and senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will also address 50 rallies each, a source said.
Before the election dates of the Lok Sabha elections are announced, BJP will have covered at least 400 Lok Sabha constituencies by organising 200 rallies, said a party leader said.  Besides these 50 rallies, Modi will also address rallies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where elections are scheduled later this year, he said.

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