The president of India’s Congress party will be visiting the UAE in early 2019 as part of a programme to reach out to non-resident Indians.
Rahul Gandhi will begin the two-day visit on January 11 when he will be addressing thousands of Indians in the UAE at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The stadium can host up to 25,000 people.
India will hold general elections in April and May 2019.
The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, also visited Dubai International Cricket Stadium in 2015 where he spoke to a full house.
This is the first time Gandhi will visit the UAE and only the second time a Congress president will visit the country in almost 40 years. The last time a Congress leader visited the UAE was in 1981 when Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi's grandmother, visited.
The Congress Party has been victorious in recent elections in the Indian states of Chattisgarh and Rajasthan, previous strongholds of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party. In the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, too, the BJP has been unseated from power.
Rahul Gandhi is gaining support and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said today that Mr Gandhi would make an excellent prime minister.
The trip, earlier scheduled for October, is part of Gandhi’s outreach programme, which has seen him travel to the US, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and the UK.