Rahul meets Lalu in AIIMS

Congress president Rahul Gandhi met ailing RJD supremo Lalu Prasad at AIIMS, to reach out to the Bihar strongman a day after sounding the bugle for the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Convicted in the fodder scam and serving a jail term, Lalu was shifted to All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, for treatment of various ailments related to heart and kidney.

Gandhi drove down to AIIMS and had a long chat with the ailing leader who was later shifted back to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi on Monday. Lalu is serving a jail term at the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi.

The Congress is scouting for alliance partners ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year as part of its plans to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Gandhi realises that the Congress will have to reach out to allies – particularly in the big states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the grand old party has been pushed to the margins.

Ironically, it was Gandhi, who in 2013 had torn apart a draft Ordinance that the then UPA government was planning to promulgate to save convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi let bygones be bygones and reached out to Lalu to forge a grand alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) to defeat BJP in the 2015 Bihar elections.

However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of the grand alliance in July last year putting RJD and Congress back on the opposition benches in the state.

Gandhi had reached out the Lalu's son Tejaswi, who was the deputy chief minister in the grand alliance government, and took him out for lunch in November last year. The two leaders have been in touch ever since and plan to launch a joint offensive against BJP in Bihar.

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Rahul meets Lalu in AIIMS

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