Rama Krishna Sangem
“Congress has improved a lot in Gujarat. We will come to power this time,” said Jetti Kusuma Kumar, AICC observer in the ongoing assembly elections in Gujarat. Kusum Kumar has been given in charge of Ahmedabad (West) Lok Sabha segment which has seven assembly constituencies. In 2017, Congress won three MLAs from here, now, he says, the party will comfortably win five.
Speaking to Excel India on phone from Ahmedabad on November 29, Tuesday, Kusuma Kumar said: “People of Gujarat have been fed up with 27 years rule of BJP. We from Congress are promising development to people. You have seen long rule of BJP, now please give us one chance, we will show what development is for Gujarat”.
Kusuma Kumr, former working president of Telangana PCC, has been campaigning for Congress in Gujarat for the last 25 days. Gujarat goes to polls on December 1 & 5. Counting of votes will take place on December 8. In 2017, Congress won 81 MLAs while BJP got 99. However, 10 Congress MLAs have later defected to BJP. This time, Congress will cross half way mark of 91 seats, according to Kusum Kumar.
Kusuma Kumar participated in a public meeting of Congress along with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot on November 28 night at Dani Limda (SC) assembly seat, part of Ahmedabad West LS segment. “Mood of people is positive. Women and youth are backing us in large numbers. Definitely there will be change in Gujarat this time,” said Kumar.
Not Much Money Power
Compared to Telangana and Andhra, the role of money power is not much in elections, says Kusuma Kumar. “Here, we don’t have to spend money like what we do in in our Telugu speaking states. We don’t have pay money for mobilizing public for your election rallies. A minimum of Rs 50 lakh, in a reserved seat and a maximum of Rs 1.50 crore, in a keen contest seat, is the poll spending. This is less than what we spend in a ward in Telangana and AP,” said Kumar.
Kusuma Kumar predicted near zero show to Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Gujarat this time. “I won’t be surprised if they draw a zero in the elections. They will also lose deposits in most seats. AAP leaders have disappeared from the scene long ago. They may be B Team of BJP as they can cut into our Congress votes at the most,” said he. Similarly, AIMIM which is in the fray may divide Musllim votes, helping BJP.
Rahul Gandhi has campaigned for Congress for two rounds. People are showing interest in Congress promise of gas cylinders at Rs 500 each. Congress in Gujarat is led by PCC president Jagadish Thakor, a simple and accessible leader. Congress is banking on leaders like Jignesh Mewani, who was an Independent last time. “BJP is only depending on the image of PM Modi, whereas we Congress are offering them a viable alternative,” said Kumar.