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Bihar: Mahagathbandhan Gears up for ‘Grand Anti-BJP Rally’ in Patna on Sunday

The March 3 ‘Mega Rally’ is likely to be addressed by Lalu Prasad, Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury D Raja and Dipankar Bhattacharya.
The March 3 ‘Mega Rally’  is likely to be addressed by Lalu Prasad, Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury D Raja and Dipankar Bhattacharya.

Patna: Ahead of the Opposition Mahagathbandhan’s "grand anti-BJP rally” in Patna on Sunday, March 3, the campaign to mobilise people is in full swing. None other than Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has appealed to people, including his supporters, to participate in large numbers in the in Gandhi Maidan to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and oust the Narendra Modi-led Central government in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Across Bihar, the Mahagathbandhan's flags, banners, hoardings and posters with slogans "Loktantra Bachao, Desh Bachao Aur BJP Harao" (Save Democracy, Save the Country, Defeat BJP) can be seen, be it rural, semi-urban and urban areas.

Hundreds of leaders and workers of RJD, a key constituent of the Mahagathbandhan, along with Congress and Left parties in the state, have been working day and night to mobilise a massive gathering at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan. This rally is being seen as a show of strength by the Mahagathbandhan ahead of upcoming elections.

This is the first joint rally of the Mahagathbandhan in the state after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the Grand Alliance and joined hands with BJP to form a new government on January 28 this year.

Sunday’s rally is likely to be addressed by Lalu Prasad, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja and CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya.

The Mahagathbandhan is confident that hundreds of thousands of people would participate in the rally.

"Our leaders, workers and supporters have been reaching out to people directly in all 38 districts, mainly in rural areas and urging them to participate in the event. In the last few days, foot marches, motorcycle-bicycle processions and street corner meetings have been held in large numbers. We are expecting a huge turnout, "RJD spokesperson Ejaz Ahmad said.

He said Tejashwi Yadav, former deputy chief minister, during his 10-day Jan Vishwas Yatra that ended on Friday, personally invited people to join the Mahagathbandhan rally. The Yatra drew massive crowds across Bihar.

"Tejashwi ji’s 3,500-km-long Yatra was successful as massive crowds, mainly youths, turned up to greet him, lauded him from roads and rooftops. The enthusiastic response of people in one public meeting after another is an indication of his popularity. His appeal to them to participate in the rally is likely to make it historic,” he added.

Political watchers here said former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, considered a mass leader, was known for huge rallies in the past. "Now, as Tejashwi has emerged as the face of RJD and successor of Lalu Prasad's political legacy, the rally’s success is sure to boost him”, they said.

Congress state president Akhilesh Prasad Singh said his party leaders and workers, along with allies, have mobilised people in a big way. “Besides, Rahul Gandhi ji's two visits to different parts of Bihar during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in February, will also help us to mobilise more people for the rally,” he said.

However, all eyes are on Left parties and their strength to mobilise people from their strongholds in rural areas. The Left parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Lenninist Liberation) [CPI(ML)] ,Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (CPI) in recent days launched an intense campaign to mobilise people for the rally. Theatre activists, student and youth wing activists have been using the social media to reach out to the youth, who are victims of unemployment, to join the fight to “save democracy and the country from fascist forces.”

"We are expecting a large number of our supporters in the rally to express solidarity to defeat BJP," CPI(ML) leader Kumar Perwez said.

The CPI(ML) has 11 sitting MLAs in the Assembly now, as one party MLA, Manoj Manzil, was disqualified last month from the Assembly following his conviction in a case.

Over a year ago (In February 2023), the Mahagathbandhan held a joint rally (Ekjutata rally) in Purnia in Seemanchal, a Muslim-dominated backward region of the state, and called upon people to support them to ensure the defeat of BJP to save the Constitution, democracy, and the country. But, at that time Nitish Kumar was a part of the Mahagathbandhan.

Also, Lalu Prasad, who was then recovering after a kidney transplant in 2022, addressed the rally through video conference from Delhi. In his characteristic style, the RJD leader directly attacked the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and BJP and cautioned people not to be misled by their false propaganda. “The RSS and BJP are anti-reservation, both have been conspiring to end reservations in one or the other way. We will have to fight unitedly against them to save the rights given by the Constitution,” he had said.

This time, Lalu Prasad’s address at the rally is being eagerly awaited.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Bihar's Begusarai and Aurangabad districts and is set to address public meetings.

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