Congress flags adorn a tree near Mecon community hall in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi/Bokaro, Sept. 24: The state Congress is busy firming up last-minute plans for laying out the red carpet for Rahul Gandhi, who will be arriving in Jharkhand tomorrow for a two-day visit to Ranchi and Bokaro.
Although the Congress general secretary’s latest visit to Jharkhand — the last one was in September last year— involves no particular political agenda, party leaders and workers seem to be attaching a lot of significance to it in view of Rahul’s immediate ascendancy in the organisation. In fact, Rahul is scheduled to leave for Ranchi soon after the Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi, which is expected to elevate him to a higher rank in the party — possibly a number two.
Little wonder then his Jharkhand trip is being perceived to play a decisive role in determining the new direction of Congress politics in the state and of course, the fate of frontline leaders.
Although the itinerary has not been finalised, according to the tentative schedule, Rahul will meet Tana Bhagats at Mecon community hall soon after his arrival tomorrow. Thereafter, he will attend an interactive session with party district and block presidents at Engineers’ Association conference hall and elected representatives of panchayati raj bodies at lawn bowl stadium in Namkum.
If time permits, he will also pay homage to tribal hero Birsa Munda at his burial ground in Kokar the same evening or the next morning before leaving for Bokaro.
In Bokaro steel city, Rahul is expected to hold two meetings on Wednesday.
According to senior Congress leader Rajendra Singh, Rahul will address around 300 Congressmen at IMA hall. Thereafter, he will speak to around 3,000 Youth Congress’ elected representatives at Sector V library grounds.
“Everything depends on when he reaches here from Delhi. He will be spending the night in Ranchi,” said Congress’ Jharkhand in-charge Shakeel Ahmed.
According to the leaders, Rahul will also take stock of the measures that had been taken to maintain the Birsa burial ground, whose filthy premises had shocked him during an earlier visit on October 15, 2009. After going back to Delhi, Rahul had even shot a letter to then Governor K. Sankaranarayanan (the state was under President’s rule) a week later and urged him to look into the matter. Sankaranarayanan wrote back on December 1, informing him that as the model code of conduct was in force, maintenance work could not be taken up immediately, but he had issued instructions for proper upkeep of the premises and also construction of a grand memorial.
Congress leaders circulated both letters among mediapersons today.
Plea in blood
Thirteen members of Gulgulia community of Dhanbad, who have taken to begging in the face of abject poverty, have written a letter bearing the impression of their bloodstained thumbs to Rahul Gandhi, seeking an audience with him during his visit to Bokaro on Wednesday.
The letter, which has been faxed to Rahul’s office and also forwarded to vice president of Dhanbad district Congress committee R.N. Chaubey, sought to draw the Congress general secretary’s attention to the community’s plight.