On day 2 of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Bihar, Rahul Gandhi to address a rally

BIHAR: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will on Tuesday address his first rally in Bihar ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, seeking to pick up the threads for the opposition INDIA bloc which has been tattered with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's exit.

Gandhi's rally in Purnea district falls on the second day of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra's march across the state where it made an entry through Kishanganj district and made a night halt at adjoining Araria.

According to Congress legislature party leader in Bihar, the rally will also be addressed by AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge who has also invited other leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc to share the stage.

Also likely to be present is young leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who hails from the state's Begusarai district and is known to stir the crowds with his oratory.

The Congress' oldest and most important ally in the state, the RJD, is likely to be represented by a representative of its de facto leaders Lalu Prasad, the founding president, and his son Tejashwi Yadav who has twice been deprived of the Deputy Chief Minister's chair as a result of Nitish Kumar's somersaults.

According to state Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh, "both Lalu and Tejashwi would have attended the rally, but for the ED summonses which seem to be aimed primarily at thwarting their visit to Purnea".

Notably, Lalu Prasad, who is in his 70s and suffers from many ailments, was grilled by the Enforcement Directorate at the Patna office for close to nine hours on Monday. Tejashwi Yadav, who like his father is named in the alleged land-for-jobs scam, has been asked to appear for questioning on Tuesday.

Besides, CPI(ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, whose party is the third largest constituent of the state's ‘Mahagathbandhan', after RJD and Congress, is slated to address the rally at Purnea, the Left party's state secretary Kunal said.

Gandhi, who was last seen in Bihar last year to attend a meeting of parties opposed to the BJP hosted by Nitish Kumar, has so far refrained from launching into a direct criticism of the JD(U) president for his volte-face two days ago.

However, Gandhi's close aide and Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had on Monday launched a blistering attack on Kumar, claiming his exit from the opposition INDIA bloc was "good riddance" which was causing many leaders of the opposition coalition to "heave a sigh of relief".

Kumar, who had joined the Mahagathbandhan in August 2022, accusing the BJP of having tried to engineer a split in the JD(U), made an abrupt return to the NDA on Sunday when he resigned, only to form a new government with the saffron party.


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