In a show of unity and to counter the rivals’ propaganda of discord in the “secular” alliance, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to share the stage with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad during his campaign trail in Bihar.
Though their respective parties had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in alliance, both Gandhi and Prasad had avoided sharing the platform. Relations between the two have been “uneasy” after Gandhi vetoed a UPA government ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers in September 2013 that would have helped Prasad remain an MP, even if without pay and without voting rights in Parliament till acquitted in the fodder scam case.
But that is past. “It is the propaganda of our rivals. The nervousness in BJP over the consolidation of Mahagathbandhan is quite palpable and that is why it is resorting to such dirty tricks,” Bihar Congress chief Ashok Chowdhary said.
“Rahulji will share the stage with Laluji in due course of time. Our goal is one... to keep communal BJP out of Bihar.”
There is a proposal to hold a rally at Champaran from where Mahatma Gandhi had launched his first satyagraha for indigo farmers in 1917.
Congress sources indicated that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and the RJD chief could also be invited to the event, a move that would facilitate Rahul’s sharing the dais with Prasad.
In the next few days, the grand alliance of Congress, RJD and Janata Dal (United) is also expected to announce distribution of seats. The JD(U) and RJD are contesting 100 seats each and have left 40 for the Congress.
Though the alliance partners will come out with their respective manifesto, they are also in the process of firming up a “common minimum programme”.