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Bihar: Rahul Gandhi Appeals to People in Seemanchal to Spread Love to Counter Hatred of BJP and RSS

Rahul Gandhi did not speak against Janata Dal-United president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Rahul Gandhi did not speak against Janata Dal-United president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra's focus is simple and clear. To counter ideologie of 'violence and hatred' of the RSS and BJP, spread the message of love. It was revealed by Gandhi when his much-awaited Yatra entered Bihar's Kishanganj district on Monday.

Kishanganj is in Seemanchal, a Muslim-dominated backward region of Bihar. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress won the Kishanganj parliamentary seat. It was the only seat won by the opposition Mahagathbandan in the state, as 39 of 40 seats were won by BJP-led NDA.

Contrary to expectations among thousands of people gathered in Kishanganj to listen to him, Gandhi did not utter a word against Janata Dal-United president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who joined hands with BJP and formed the NDA government after dumping Mahagathbandhan, a part of opposition alliance INDIA. 

Gandhi alleged that RSS and BJP instigated people of different religions, castes and communities to fight against each other.

"Ideologies of the RSS and BJP are spreading violence and hatred in the country. This can be countered and defeated by spreading love. Only love can win over violence and hatred," Gandhi said in his 15-minute-long speech in Kishanganj.

He further said that only love will stop people from fighting among themselves.

Gandhi appealed to people to counter the violence and hatred spread by the RSS and BJP through love.

"Our Yatra is spreading it, and Congress has opened a shop of love in the market of hatred."

Gandhi further targeted RSS and BJP for instigating the brother to fight against the brother in the name of religion.

Gandhi's Yatra will cover some parts of Seemanchal during the next two days. He will address a public rally in Purnea district on January 30, followed by another rally in Katihar. His Yatra will return to West Bengal on Thursday.

The impoverished Seemanchal region comprises four northeastern districts of Bihar—Purnia, Araria, Kishnaganj, and Katihar, with a significant Muslim population.

The BJP is desperate to use its well-tested Hindutva agenda in Seemanchal to polarise people ahead of the 2024 general elections. The saffron party has already launched its campaign to consolidate the Hindu vote bank consisting of all non-Muslim linguistic and ethnic groups in the region by raising controversial issues.

Taking this factor into consideration, Gandhi, on his first day of Yatra, targeted RSS and BJP to create awareness about the importance of love among people. 

In recent years, BJP leaders have raised controversial issues like alleged illegal infiltrators (mainly Bangladeshi Muslims), cow slaughter, love jihad, increasing population of Muslims and decreasing population of Hindus. These claims have raised concerns about creating fear, targeting Muslims, and polarising Hindus.

Seemanchal is considered a stronghold of the Mahagathbandhan and a politically weak area for the BJP in Bihar.

According to political watchers in the state, BJP’s design is simple and clear – consolidate and polarise Hindu voters in Seemanchal. BJP has been working on these issues that will make it easier to hit the sentiments of Muslims in Seemanchal and other places and exploit these to get Hindu votes across the state.

For the BJP and RSS, flood-prone Seemanchal is a priority area as the concentration of the Muslim population is highest there, and the BJP has so far failed to make much inroads in the region. In the Seemanchal region, Muslims account for 70% of the population in Kishanganj, 38% in Purnea, 43% in Katihar and over 42% in Araria. However, Muslims only form 16.5% of Bihar's 105 million population, as per the 2011 Census.

BJP, which contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the JD-U of Nitish Kumar, won the Araria parliamentary seat, and JD-U won the Katihar and Purnea seats.

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