It is ‘yatra’ time in poll-bound Rajasthan

Jaipur, April 14 (IANS) Though elections are months away, the election fever has gripped Rajasthan, with both the BJP and the Congress taking out ‘yatras’ to woo the voters.

Led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Congress party launched the ‘Sandesh Yatra’ from Jaipur March 30.

Gehlot has so far toured Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts.

On the other side, Bharatiya Janata Party state president and former chief minister Vashundhara Raje is on a ‘Suraaj Sankalpa Yatra’.

It is aimed at expanding the BJP’s support base ahead of assembly polls about eight months away.

Raje, whose ‘Parivartan Yatra’ is credited with bringing the BJP to power in 2003, is set to cover about 200 places in the state’s 33 districts over the next four months.

Her yatra was flagged off by BJP president Rajnath Singh from a temple in Udaipur April 3.

What has made the two rallies interesting is the war of the words waged by Gehlot and Raje.

At rallies at Sadulshahar and other places in Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts, some 500 km from Jaipur, Gehlot accused the BJP of misguiding people.

“If the BJP has any ideology or action plan, it could have emerged as an alternative to the Congress,” said Gehlot.

Taking an obvious dig at Raje, Gehlot said she was riding a “luxurious rath” after having rested for the past four and a half years.

About 700 km away, in the tribal areas of Dungarpur, Raje claimed that her rival Gehlot was in shock over the popular response she was getting from voters.

“If he (Gehlot) gives a 40-minute speech, he talks about me for 20 minutes,” said Raje.

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