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Rahul Gandhi draws big crowds on Bihar visit

Patna, Feb 1 (Calcutta Tube) Congress MP and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi drew big crowds as he began a two-day visit to Bihar Monday aimed at galvanising the state unit for the assembly elections later this year.

Hundreds of Congress workers and common people welcomed Gandhi during his short visit to Champaran, Darbhanga and Gaya. Congress leaders said party workers felt upbeat at his visit and on catching a glimpse of him.

‘Rahul Gandhi’s visit has provided much sought hope of Congress’ revival among workers and leaders and they have suddenly become upbeat,’ state Congress unit president Anil Sharma told IANS here.

Gandhi had chosen to start his visit from West Champaran as the place is associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement.

‘Soon after his arrival, Gandhi drove to Bhitiharwa Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi started his civil disobedience movement in 1917,’ party leader Sameer Kumar Singh said.

Gandhi interacted with Youth Congress leaders there and asked them to come forward with commitment to strengthen the party and change the face of their state.

After West Champaran, Gandhi visited Darbhanga district where he held discussions with students of Lalit Narayan Mithila University and urged youths to join politics for development of Bihar. He also made it clear that the Congress will contest on its own in the forthcoming state assembly polls.

Later, he visited Bodh Gaya in Gaya district to meet youth from marginalised sections.

Gandhi arrived in the state capital Monday evening and met Congress leaders at the party headquarters Sadaquat Ashram.

‘Rahul Gandhi addressed senior Congress leaders to inspire and instil confidence in them to work towards strengthening the party,’ a Congress leader said.

Gandhi is scheduled to address a press conference here Tuesday and then interact with students at the Patna Women’s College.

With the Youth Congress having launched a membership drive Jan 12 as part of the process to conduct organisational elections in the state, Gandhi will interact with potential candidates at several places, including at Darbhanga, Patna, Gaya and Kishanganj. His visit is expected to give a boost to the membership drive, a party source said.

The party source said the visit to the state was delayed by some days due to infighting in Bihar Congress over the list of office-bearers declared earlier last month. Senior state Congress leaders have demanded removal of the state Congress chief.

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