The Gandhi scion and Congress vice-president would be addressing the two rallies at Aligarh and Rampur on October 9, largely with an eye to the minority vote bank in these two places, an office bearer of the state Congress said.

The two back-to-back public rallies are also being seen as the Congress answer to the BJP's plan to ‘carpet bomb’ the state with nine Modi rallies in the state, the first to be held in Kanpur, a seat held by the Congress for the last three terms.

The Congress rallies have been christened as 'Dhanyavaad Rallies' and are aimed at thanks-giving by the ‘party and the people for Rahul Gandhi's proactive role in getting landmark legislations like Land Acquisition Bill and Food Security Bill passed in Parliament,’ a Congress leader said.

The Congress, besides trying to woo back the Muslim vote bank that slid into the baskets of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the last decade, will also try to snatch the Dalit and Other Backward Classes votes of the two regional parties, the source said.

By deciding to hold the rallies in Aligarh and Rampur - a seat held by the BSP and the pocket borough of SP leader Azam Khan - party insiders say, Rahul Gandhi is trying to hint at the party's readiness to go against both the BSP and the SP in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Both parties have been supporting the UPA II government from outside. The BJP, meanwhile, continues to be mired in the confusion over the permission for and venues of the nine Modi rallies planned by the state unit over October, November and December.

The first rally was scheduled to be held in Kanpur, but since its dates clashed with religious festivals, it was put off. At many places, the BJP is faced with venue problems as the grounds they zeroed in on are either unavailable or the district administrations have denied the party permission for their use.


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