The Congress is bracing up to show it is back in the reckoning in Bihar. After more than 20 years, the party is organising a public rally on its own at the historic Gandhi Maidan in Patna next month.
Congress sources said party president Sonia Gandhi would address the election rally, to be held on any day between August 22 and 25.
The Congress president had earlier addressed a public meeting at Gandhi Maidan but that was a joint rally held few days ahead of the Bihar assembly elections in October 2005.
She had then shared the dais with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) boss Lalu Prasad and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar as part of the Secular Democratic Front of which the CPM was also a member.
Gandhi's rally would be show of strength for the Congress that has been out of power in the state for the past two decades, and currently having only 10 members in the 234-member Bihar assembly.
"There are certainly winds of change in Bihar. And the rally will determine whether those winds are in favour of Congress," a senior party leader said.
The Bihar unit is leaving no stone unturned to make the public meeting a grand success.
"Preparations have already begun. We are expecting 2-3 lakh people at the rally," the leader said.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is also expected to address a series of public meetings in the state ahead of polls likely to be held in October-November this year.
On its part, the Congress has already sounded poll bugle in Bihar with union ministers currently touring the state to expose chief minister Nitish Kumar's "tall claims" of development and good governance.
The party also plans to target Kumar on the issues of welfare of minorities and backward castes besides corruption.
After breaking ties with the RJD and the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has decided to go it alone in the assembly.