Cong to fight polls on farmers' issues in Bihar

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, DH file photo

Pushed to the political margins in caste-ridden Bihar, Congress is looking at cash in on a larger farmer identity to regain some foothold in the state.

As it prepares for the Lok Sabha elections next year, Congress has set upon an ambitious path of contesting the polls on issues in a state that it known to vote fiercely on caste lines.

“We want to fight the elections on issues of farmers and the youth. These affect everyone regardless of caste,” AICC in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil told DH.

To begin with, the Congress is planning an awareness drive on June 21 to highlight issues such as alleged irregularities in the procurement of farm produce across Bihar and the sorry state of irrigation that has prompted farmers to look at other avenues for earning their livelihood.

Gohil said, on June 25 Congress workers will take out protest marches in every district of Bihar and submit a memorandum to the district collector on issues related to farmers.

Recently, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had recast the AICC team handling party affairs in Bihar. AICC general secretary C P Joshi was shunted out and Gohil was brought in his place. Gohil is assisted by two AICC Secretaries Rajesh Lilothia and Virendra Singh Rathore.

Congress has been out of power in Bihar for more than three decades, ceding ground to caste-based regional outfits such as the RJD, JD(U) and LJP.

Lilothia and Rathore have been directed by Gohil to visit each and every district of Bihar and seek feedback from Congress workers on who they want to see as the president of the state unit.

Factionalism

“We will submit a list of names of party leaders to Congress President, who would then appoint the state unit president,” Gohil said.

Despite being reduced to being a marginal player, factionalism is rampant in Bihar Congress. In March, former state unit president Ashok Choudhary and three of his supporter MLCs had quit the Congress to join the JD(U).

Congress will be contesting the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD.

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