Sonia Gandhi to launch Congress poll campaign in Karnataka Monday

March 21st, 2009 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Bangalore, March 21 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi will launch the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka at a rally in Davangere Monday, though the party is yet to nominate candidates for any of the 28 seats in the state.
The state goes to polls April 23 and 30.

Karnataka Congress unit hopes to mobilise 300,000 to 400,000 people for the rally in Davangere town, about 250 km from here.

“About three to four lakh (300,000 to 400,000) people are expected to attend the rally,” state Congress media coordinator M. Ramachandrappa said Sunday.

Besides Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka party affairs Gulam Nabi Azad and all state unit leaders will attend the rally, he said.

Davangere was once called the ‘Manchester of Karnataka’ as it had a number of textile mills. However all of them have shut and the town has become a major educational centre with several engineering and medical colleges.

Most of the educational institutions are run by political leaders, including Shamanur Shivashankarappa of Congress, a former Lok Sabha member.

Davangere became a Lok Sabha constituency only in 1977 and a district in 1997.

Once a Congress stronghold, it is now dominated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won six of the eight assembly constituencies in the May 2008 polls to the state legislature. Congress won two.

The BJP had won only three constituencies in the 2004 assembly elections while the Congress had bagged three.

The BJP captured the Davangere Lok Sabha seat for the first time in 1996 but failed to retain it in the 1998 polls.

However it won back the seat in 1999 and retained it in the 2004 elections.

Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi visited Davangere March 2, 1934 and laid the foundation stone for a high school.

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