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Rahul Gandhi to address rally with mahagathbandhan partners on Saturday

RANCHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a rally in Ranchi on Saturday along with leaders of mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand.

Gandhi will speak at the party’s Parivartan Ulgulan Maha Rally at the Morahbadi ground with leaders of JMM, JVM and RJD, JPCC spokesman Lal Kishore Nath Shahdeo told PTI Friday.

“JMMs working president Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief Babulal Marandi and RJDs Jharkhand unit president Annapurna Devi have been invited to participate in the Congress rally tomorrow,” Shahdeo said.

The JPCC spokesman, however, dismissed possibility of Gandhi meeting RJD president Lalu Prasad lodged in jail here after conviction in cases of multi-crore fodder scam.

There is no possibility, Sahdeo said when asked whether the party has taken permission from the jail authorities for Gandhi to call on Prasad.

Prasad has been in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail since December 2017 after his conviction in cases of over Rs 900 crore fodder scam that broke out in early 90s in the united Bihar.

RJD has been an important ally of the Congress in Bihar as well in Jharkhand and Prasad is the national president of the party.

Though opposition parties have appeared together on many occasions as partners of mahagathbandhan, but seat-sharing among them is still not hammered. Media reports suggest that Prasad would have the last word on the allocation of seats to anti-BJP coalition particularly for a total of 40 seats in Bihar.

This will be the first visit by Rahul Gandhi to Jharkhand after the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, another Congress leader said.

Usually visitors are allowed to meet Prasad on Saturdays and a host of opposition leaders had met him in the last two months with former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi being the latest visitor on February 23.

As per an understanding reached recently among the opposition parties in Jharkhand, the Congress will head the Lok Sabha elections in the state while the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) will do so in the assembly elections.

However, the opposition parties have not yet announced seat adjustments for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand.

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