Rahul Gandhi to visit Giroudhpuri in Chhattisgarh on March 14

Raipur, Mar 13: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Giroudhpuri Dham - a popular scheduled caste Satnami community's pilgrim centre - in Chhattisgarh tomorrow.

"Rahul Gandhi is expected to arrive at Raipur's Swami Vivekanand airport at around 2 PM from where he will directly leave for Giroudhpuri in a helicopter," Congress' state unit general secretary Shailesh Nitin Trivedi told PTI.

Rahul Gandhi

Giroudhpuri, located around 130 kms from the state capital, in Balodabazar district is the birth place of Satnami saint Guru Ghasidas. A 253-ft high 'Jaitkham' has been erected at the pilgrim centre and is touted as the highest concrete tower in the country.

"The visit of Rahul Gandhi is completely non-political. He is coming to Giroudhpuri dham just to take blessings of Satguru Ghasidas. No public meeting or interaction will be held there," Trivedi said.

AICC General Secretary and Chhattisgarh in-charge B K Hariprasad and AICC treasurer Motilal Vora will also be present during his visit to the state.

However, Gandhi's visit to the dalit community's biggest pilgrim centre in Chhattisgarh is seen by political experts as the Congress' exercise to regain support of Satnami community (SC), which constitutes about 12 per cent of the state's population of 2.5 crore.

In the 2013 Assembly election, the Scheduled Caste voters drifted largely towards BJP even as the Raman Singh government pruned their reservation quota from 16 to 12 per cent.

Contrary to speculations that SCs will support Congress, the BJP bagged 9 out of 10 SC reserved seats, leaving just one for its rival in the previous Assembly polls.

Gandhi's visit is also considered as crucial amid the ongoing tension within the Congress over the Antagarh bypoll fixing row.


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