Once reluctant to be seen with Lalu Prasad, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi seems to have turned the page. He is now keen to have the RJD supremo attend his Champaran rally kickstarting the Congress’s Bihar election campaign on September 19.
Gandhi, who did not share stage with the Yadav chieftain during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is learnt to have spoken to Lalu over the phone last Monday.
The Congress had planned the Champaran rally as part of its year-long celebrations to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. Champaran is where Mahatma Gandhi had launched his first satyagraha in 1917 after his return from South Africa.
The Congress attaches much symbolic and political significance to the rally as it wants to use the platform to send across a message to the Dalits by holding the Samrasta Rally there.
With the announcement of the election schedule for the Bihar Assembly polls, the Grand Old Party wants to get all the leading lights of the grand alliance on a common platform to send a message of unity. Sources said the party has asked senior Haryana Congress leader Captain Ajay Yadav, whose son Chiranjeev Rao is married to Lalu’s daughter Anushka, to work on the RJD chieftain.
“I am going to Patna to ensure there is synergy between the RJD and the Congress. I will be going on 18th,” Yadav told The Indian Express. RJD sources said Lalu’s son Tejaswi will attend Gandhi’s rally, while the Congress is hoping that Ajay Yadav will persuade and convince the RJD chief to be present at the rally. The party is keeping its fingers crossed as the indication from the RJD camp is that Lalu is yet to make up his mind.
The Congress wants a message to be conveyed before the election that Lalu does not harbour any ill will against Gandhi, who had blocked the UPA government’s attempt in 2013 to negate a Supreme Court order disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs by issuing an ordinance. He had famously termed it a “complete nonsense” that should be “torn and thrown out”.
The ordinance was ostensibly brought to save Lalu, who was convicted in the fodder scam in October that year. Gandhi was also reluctant to enter into an alliance with the RJD for the Lok Sabha elections but finally agreed after the Congress’ Bihar leadership and a section of the high command argued it was the best case scenario for the party in Bihar.
Things seems to have changed now and the Congress, keen to defeat the BJP and stop Narendra Modi’s juggernaut, is keen to iron out creases in the alliance in Bihar. It is also working to get Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to attend
Courtesy: Indian Express