Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra In Bihar After Nitish Kumar’s Friend-To-Foe Switch


Rahul Gandhi's Yatra In Bihar After Nitish Kumar's Friend-To-Foe Switch

Nitish Kumar parted ways with the RJD and Congress yesterday

Patna:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra entered Bihar today, a day after his party went from being a part of the state’s ruling coalition to the Opposition, thanks to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s fifth flip-flop in a decade.

Mr Gandhi’s yatra, a desperate attempt by the Congress to rally support ahead of Lok Sabha polls, started at Manipur on January 14. After travelling through the Northeast, it reached Bengal on Thursday before Mr Gandhi took a break and flew to Delhi.

When Mr Gandhi boarded the plane to Delhi, the Congress was part of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar led by Mr Kumar. As he resumes the yatra after a two-day break, Mr Kumar is in the same post, but his new partners are BJP and the Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha.

The yatra started in Sonapur in Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district this morning and reached Kishanganj in Bihar around 11 am. A Muslim-dominated area, the Kishanganj Lok Sabha constituency has been with the Congress since the 2009 Lok Sabha election. The rally will move to Purnea tomorrow and Katihar the day after. Both districts are JDU strongholds and when the yatra started, it was friendly territory for the Congress. Now, the equations have changed.

This is Mr Gandhi’s first visit to Bihar since the 2020 Assembly election. The 2020 election was followed by NDA alliance forming the government under Mr Kumar. Two years later, in August 2022, Mr Kumar walked out of the NDA alliance and reunited with estranged allies RJD and Congress. Yesterday, he made another flip-flop, teaming up with NDA again.

Leaders of the state Congress said the party’s alliance partners in Bihar, RJD and CPI(ML)-L, have been invited to the Purnea rally.

During the public addresses during the Bihar leg of the Yatra, Mr Gandhi is likely to target Mr Kumar over his latest volte-face. The Congress has reacted strongly to the Bihar reversal, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge referring to Mr Kumar as “aaya ram gaya ram” – a term used for politicians who keep changing sides.

The JDU, on its part, has accused the Congress of trying to hijack the INDIA platform. In his first remarks after resigning as Chief Minister, Mr Kumar, who was at the forefront of the formation of the Opposition bloc, said things were not moving in the INDIA bloc. Senior JDU leader KC Tyagi said the alliance ended because of the Congress’s arrogance.

After Bihar, the yatra is scheduled to re-enter Bengal before proceeding to Jharkhand. The march will end at Mumbai in March.



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