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I.N.D.I.A. bloc leaders sound poll bugle at Patna rally

Patna, March 3, 2024: The opposition bloc I.N.D.I.A. virtually sounded the bugle for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on Sunday when top leaders, including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, converged in the Bihar capital for a mammoth rally.

Gandhi, who had flown down from Madhya Pradesh, taking a break from his ’Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, spoke before handing over the mic to AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and returning for the mass outreach programme.

India block

The former Congress president made a brief, about 15-minute-long, speech and charged the Narendra Modi government at the Centre with ’working for only two, three super-rich people and neglecting Dalits and backward classes who comprise 73 per cent of the population’.

Kharge, after whom the ’Jan Vishwas Maha Rally’ was signed off by RJD president Lalu Prasad, lambasted Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his recent volte-face.

Lauding Prasad’s son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav for ensuring that jobs were created on a large scale during the 17-month-period the latter occupied the deputy CM’s post, Kharge said "Your chacha (referring to Nitish Kumar) has done a flip-flop. He may do so again. But do not accept him henceforth." Notably, Kumar, who heads the JD(U), had allied with RJD-Congress and Left combine in 2022, snapping ties with the BJP which he accused of trying to engineer a split in his own party.

He played a key role in the formation of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, though after returning to the NDA, he has been claiming that he was never happy with the way things moved forward in the opposition coalition and that even the acronym did not have his approval. The most caustic attacks on the Bihar CM, however, came from Lalu Prasad, his arch-rival, who signed off his speech in style, asking the crowds to "be prepared for the upcoming elections.

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