BJNY: Bihar has led discussion on social justice, esp for OBC, says Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra has entered Bihar just as former ally and CM Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) flip-flopped and returned to the NDA for the nth time

Rahul Gandhi (centre, orange scarf) shares the stage with Jairam Ramesh (far left) and other state Congress leaders in Kishanganj, Bihar, before addressing a gathering on his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (photo: AICC)
Rahul Gandhi (centre, orange scarf) shares the stage with Jairam Ramesh (far left) and other state Congress leaders in Kishanganj, Bihar, before addressing a gathering on his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (photo: AICC)
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NH Political Bureau

As the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra enters Bihar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has raised concerns about the representation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in India.

During a public meeting in Kishanganj, Bihar, Gandhi emphasised that despite constituting 50 per cent of the country's population, OBCs have inadequate representation. He also noted that Bihar has historically taken the lead in discussions on societal justice.

The yatra's entry into Bihar coincides with Nitish Kumar's decision to break away from the RJD-led 'Mahagathbandhan' government and rejoin the NDA, forming yet another government led by himself.

This marks Rahul Gandhi's first public meeting in Bihar since the 2020 assembly poll campaign as well, though of course he has visited more recently to speak to local leaders as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance started to come together, originally beginning on Kumar's turf.

At the Kishanganj meet, Gandhi stated that social and economic justice are both crucial for the progress of the nation, and criticised the ideologies of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing them of spreading violence and hatred.

The Congress aims to counter this by promoting unity and love as well as justice through the Nyay Yatra, said Gandhi.

"The grand old party has given a new vision and ideology. Many people questioned the purpose of this yatra, and we clarified that it aims to counter the hatred spread by the RSS-BJP ideologies. This yatra has had a significant impact on the country's politics. We have introduced a new vision and ideology—that is mohabbat," Gandhi said.

Gandhi had already outlined the objectives of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra specifically, stating that it seeks to pursue a five-point focus to ensure justice for all.

In Siliguri a day ago, after a two-day pause for Republic Day, the Nyay Yatra met with the local bar association, who enacted their vision of justice: balanced and impartial.

Justice is envisaged as five pillars or fingers in the Nyay Yatra campaign, which recall the grand old party's original grassroots-focused activism—justice for the youth, participatory justice, justice for women, justice for farmers and justice for workers. Gandhi expressed the party's commitment to strengthening the country's experience of justice and development through enshrining these principles.

Reflecting on the yatra's inception in Kohima, Gandhi highlighted the party's intention to bring the nation together, transcending cultural, religious and linguistic differences.

Yesterday, in Siliguri, he had the support of the Hamro Party president Ajoy Edwards, who presented him with a traditional Gorkha topi and his personal kukri. North Bengal, which has increasingly preferred regional parties to safeguard local interests, is a key space for both the Congress and the Trinamool Congress to win over.

Gandhi is next scheduled to address a huge rally in Purnea, Bihar on Tuesday, 30 January, and then will leave for West Bengal again, travelling via Araria district and returning again to Bihar a few days later via Jharkhand, said state Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh.

According to the party's state unit, its other allies in Bihar—such as RJD president Lalu Prasad and CPI(ML)-L general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya—have been invited to the rally at Purnea as well, though now Yadav is no longer in that number.

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will conclude in Mumbai on March 20.

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