Rahul Gandhi’s Bihar Yatra following Nitish Kumar’s alliance shift

Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra in Bihar Begins Following Nitish Kumar’s Coalition Shift

Patna: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has commenced his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Bihar, just a day after his party transitioned from being part of the ruling coalition to the opposition due to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s frequent political flip-flopping.

Mr. Gandhi’s yatra, which aims to garner support ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, initiated on January 14 from Manipur. After traversing through the Northeast, it reached Bengal on Thursday, following which Mr. Gandhi took a brief break and flew to Delhi.

When Mr. Gandhi departed for Delhi, the Congress was a member of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar, led by Mr. Kumar. As he resumes the yatra after a two-day hiatus, Mr. Kumar remains in the same position, but his new allies now include the BJP and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha.

The yatra commenced this morning in Sonapur, located in Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district, and arrived in Kishanganj, Bihar at around 11 am. Kishanganj, a constituency with a significant Muslim population, has been held by the Congress since the 2009 Lok Sabha election. Tomorrow, the rally will move to Purnea, followed by Katihar the day after. Both districts are strongholds of Mr. Kumar’s JDU party, making it a friendly territory for the Congress at the start of the yatra. However, the dynamics have now changed.

This marks Mr. Gandhi’s first visit to Bihar since the 2020 Assembly elections. After the 2020 elections, the NDA alliance formed the government under Mr. Kumar. Two years later, in August 2022, Mr. Kumar withdrew from the NDA alliance and reunited with estranged allies RJD and Congress. Yesterday, he once again flip-flopped and aligned with the NDA.

Leaders of the state Congress have extended invitations to their alliance partners in Bihar, RJD and CPI(ML)-L, to attend the rally in Purnea.

During the public addresses in Bihar, Mr. Gandhi is expected to criticize Mr. Kumar for his latest political U-turn. The Congress has vehemently condemned the reversal in Bihar, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge referring to Mr. Kumar as a “aaya ram gaya ram,” a derogatory term used for politicians who frequently switch sides.

In response, the JDU has accused the Congress of attempting to hijack the INDIA platform. Following his resignation as Chief Minister, Mr. Kumar, who played a key role in forming the opposition bloc, stated that things were not progressing within the INDIA bloc. Senior JDU leader KC Tyagi claimed that the alliance ended due to the Congress’ arrogance.

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

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