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To improve party chances, Rahul rallies today

The party officials, though, reason that the rally venues were chosen since it was the only region of the state where neither Rahul nor Sonia Gandhi has addressed any public rally in past three months. Sonia recently addressed public rallies in Jodhpur and Ajmer divisions, while Rahul was in Udaipur and Kota divisions. Two more divisions would be covered by Rahul's rallies on Wednesday, while the third one would be covered by Sonia next month.

The party state unit has put in all its efforts to present Rahul's rallies this week a big crowd puller even in northern Rajasthan, where the party holds just 13 of the 35 assembly seats of Bikaner division and Alwar district. The party has arranged Rahul rallies at Churu, which is in Bikaner division, and at Khedli in Alwar district. Curiously, the party is presenting the Khedli rally as part of the Bharatpur division even though Alwar comes under the Jaipur division.

‘Khedli is on the Alwar-Bharatpur border so it can be counted as a Bharatpur division rally; the Jaipur division rally would be held later at Jaipur,’ a PCC office-bearer involved with the rally preparations at Alwar said on Monday. However, there were reports that the decision to have the Bharatpur division's rally in Alwar district was influenced by union minister Jitendra Singh, who is known to be close to Rahul.

On Wednesday, Congress vice-president Rahul would first address the Churu rally scheduled at 11 am and then fly for the second rally at Khedli scheduled around 1 pm. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary in-charge Gurudas Kamat and his deputies Mirza Irshad Baig and Ashok Tanwar, and PCC chief Chandrabhan would attend the rallies.

The Bikaner division comprises four districts including Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Churu. The division has 24 assembly seats-maximum seven being in Bikaner district, six each in Sriganganagar and Churu districts, while Hanumangarh district having five seats. In the 2008 assembly elections, the Congress and the BJP tally in the division was 10 assembly seats each. The CPM won one-Anoopgarh (Pawan Duggal) and three others went to the independents.

In Churu and Bikaner districts the Congress could win just two-two seats, while the BJP one four-four (one went to the independents). In Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, however, the BJP was restricted one seat in each district, while the Congress got three each in both the districts. The independents and the CPM pocketed the remaining three.

The Congress performance was pathetic in Alwar district in 2008. Of the 11 assembly seats here, the party could get just three, while BJP got seven (one was won by Samajwadi Party).
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