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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Rahul Gandhi’s Patna rally today to set tone for Congress campaign in 2019

Being held after a gap of 28 years — the last was addressed by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 — the ‘Jan Akanksha’ rally is significant for the Congress which had been on the decline in Bihar.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Feb 03, 2019 13:12 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Patna, HT Correspondent
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel & Ahmed Patel en route Patna for Congress rally at Gandhi Maidan today.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel & Ahmed Patel en route Patna for Congress rally at Gandhi Maidan today.(Photo: Twitter/Congress)
         

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will kick off his party’s election campaign for the Lok Sabha polls with a rally at the historic Gandhi Maidan today.

Being held after a gap of 28 years — the last was addressed by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 — the Congress’ rally, titled Jan Akanksha rally, is significant for the party which had been on decline in the state since 1998 when it joined hands with Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal.

“By holding the rally on its own, the Congress will also explore the possibility of going it alone in future elections,” said Bihar Congress spokesman Harkhu Jha, adding that the party does not want to leave coalition partners away either.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, who has been supervising the party’s campaign to mobilise people’s support for the rally, has put off seat-sharing talks because of the rally. Party leaders claimed the success of the rally would help the Congress finalise the seat-sharing exercise with renewed confidence.

The Congress is looking to contest about 12-15 seats out of 40 in the coming Lok Sabha elections. However, the RJD’s insistence of being the ‘big brother’ in the grand alliance is making the job difficult for the party in Bihar. The Congress has decided to go it alone in UP . “If the RJD does not offer a respectable number seats in Bihar, Congress is free to fight alone here as well,” said a senior Congress leader.

The Congress had won two out of the 12 seats it had contested in the last Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the RJD. In assembly, however, it had contested 41 seats and managed to elect 27 MLAs in alliance with the RJD and JD(U) in 2015. The RJD had won four seats and NCP one in the last Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, Rishi Mishra, former MLA of JD(U) and son of JD(U) MLC Vijay Kumar Mishra, joined the Congress on Saturday along with his supporters in presence of BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha. Rishi is grandson of former Union minister Lalit Narayan Mishra.

Many other leaders, including former NCP MP Tariq Anwar and president of Bihar Pradesh Vaishya Mahasammelan Jagannath Gupta, have joined the Congress. “Many sitting MPs of the NDA are waiting for opportune moment to become flag-bearers of the Congress and strengthen hands of Rahul Gandhi,” said party spokesman Rajesh Kumar Rathore.

Besides the CMs of three states recently wrested by the Congress, former deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav and president of Vikassheel Insan Party Mukesh Sahni are slated to share the dais with Rahul Gandhi and address the crowd.

First Published: Feb 03, 2019 12:04 IST

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