Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will flag off the Bihar version of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from legendary Mandar Parwat in Banka on January 5, said the party’s state chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
“A public rally has been proposed in Patna once the padyatra reached the state capital next month. Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi or senior leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is scheduled to address the rally, depending upon their availability. Rahul Gandhi is expected to address the public at Bodh Gaya, where the campaign is scheduled to culminate,” said a party statement.
According to Singh, Bihar’s Bharat Jodo Yatra will essentially be a party affair unlike the main yatra being led by former party chief Rahul Gandhi. “The party will not invite the leaders of its allies or other social activists to participate,” he said.
Party leaders said that the change in the nomenclature of the yatra was basically aimed at demonstrating the party’s own strength particularly after Singh took over as the state Congress chief earlier this month.
The Congress’ decision not to invite leaders of the alliance partners, including chief minister and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, assumes significance in view of the talks about formation of a third front in which Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav had invited the JDU to partner with.
“Moreover, Nitish Kumar and the JDU did never appear enthusiastic about the main yatra being led by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The CM’s plan to start his own yatra the same day, December 5, also hints about his reluctance to support the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Bihar,” said political analyst and former head of economics department of Patna University, Nawal Kishore Chaudhary.
The Bihar Congress chief has set up 25 district-level committees, comprising senior party leaders, to oversee the preparation for the yatra and made a general appeal to the people of all walks of life to join hands in the Congress’ fight against price rise, joblessness and social distrust.
Bihar Congress media in-charge Rajesh Rathore said that the party has selected 100 leaders, who will continuously walk from the starting point, the legendary Mandar Parwat in Banks, to the globally famous Bodh Gaya.