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Sonia and Rahul to campaign minus allies

Patna, March 31: The Congress stalwarts, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, would not share dais with the leaders of the party’s alliance partners in the state during election rallies.

“AICC (All India Congress Committee) president Sonia Gandhiji and vice-president Rahul Gandhiji traditionally do not share dais with the leaders of any other party. This is not our tradition in Bihar too,” the state Congress vice-president, Prem Chandra Mishra, told reporters here.

“The public meetings organised for Sonia Gandhiji and Rahul Gandhiji are exclusively meant for them. We have never made experiments with them in the past,” he said, quickly adding that there could be joint meetings of the other Congress leaders and those of the RJD.

Citing an example, he said the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, and the Bihar Congress chief jointly addressed a public meeting in Jamui a few days back.

“There is no confusion whatsoever with regard to the alliance. We (the Congress and the RJD) are contesting elections with complete understanding,” he added.

The Congress’s go-solo strategy for meetings of Sonia and Rahul was announced a day after Lalu said he would not be campaigning jointly with them during the electioneering.

“There is no programme to hold joint rally with Rahul Gandhi. We did not make any programme for a joint campaign… Leaders of both the parties are campaigning on their own,” Lalu had said yesterday.

The Congress would start its election campaign in the state from April 1, Mishra said in the presence of party leaders Kaukab Qadri, Sanjay Sinha, Jyoti Kumar Singh, Ranjit Mishra and others.

Mishra said Rahul would address a public rally at Gandhi Maidan in Aurangabad on April 1 in support of the party nominee, Nikhil Kumar, the veteran party leader who threw his hat in the poll ring after resigning from the post of Kerala governor. Sonia would address a public meeting at Railway Maidan in Sasaram on April 3 to seek votes for Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

Mishra said the Bihar Congress has sought time from these two leaders to campaign for the party candidates in all the six phases.

Claiming that the Lok Sabha polls would be a fight between the “united” UPA and the “divided” NDA (after the JD(U)-BJP split), the Congress state vice-president charged the BJP and the JD(U) with cheating people’s mandate for providing good governance.

He also sought to know from the JD(U) to clarify its stand on whether Nitish Kumar would join hands with the BJP in a post-poll scenario or not.


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