Bihar polls a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi

In the last LS election, Rahul Gandhi had actively lobbied for party nomination for the youth.

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 12:43 PM IST

New Delhi: After tasting success in Uttar Pradesh, the poll-bound Bihar is going to be a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi, who is actively involved in the party affairs in the state.

The general secretary in-charge of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and NSUI started his forays in Bihar earlier this year with a series of meetings to prepare the ground for the
organisational elections in the Indian Youth Congress.

Earlier this month, he again held meetings in the state and raised a number of issues and focussed on development to mobilise the youth, farmers and other sections of the society.

Organisational elections for IYC have been successfully completed in the state and a cadre of youth Congress is there in every panchayat of the state where Congress has politically been on the sidelines for the last 20 years.

In every panchayat, the lowest unit of elections, there are two elected representatives of the IYC.

Similarly, at the level of Assembly segment and Lok Sabha segment, there are two representatives each who are the torch-bearers of the party in the state where the organisation has suffered over the years as the party has been out of power for two decades at a stretch after the Mandal politics.

At the state level too, there are a set of office-bearers who are working to improve the graph of the party.

Party sources said several of these IYC elected members would be given party nomination, even if they are not in a position to win, so that they gain experience in electoral politics in the long run.

In the last Lok Sabha election, Gandhi had actively lobbied for party nomination for the youth so that they get valuable experience. Several of them won bringing in a new
dynamism in the party affairs.

Though the poll itinerary of Gandhi in Bihar is yet to be prepared, party leaders said he is slated to address a series of rallies to enthuse the workers and the cadres and
bring back the old glory of the party in the state.

Like Uttar Pradesh, where Gandhi was instrumental in initiating a policy of going it alone, in Bihar too the party will fight on its own without any alliance.

Congress is hoping that Gandhi`s "right medicine" will help resuscitate the party in Bihar.

"We were ill there (Bihar). We got a good doctor, who gave us the right medicine. There is a change of mindset in Bihar after Rahul Gandhi`s visit there. We will reach our
destination under his leadership," senior party leader and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said.

The state, where six-phase elections are being held beginning October 20, has seen Congress on crutches of RJD and the LJP in the past.

In the 243-member assembly, Congress has only 10 members. The party won two out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in general elections last year though it considerably improved its vote share.

Eyeing a larger pie this time round, Congress has already done the spadework with the visit of over a dozen Union Ministers in the state in the last two months. More ministers
are slated to go to the state for electioneering, particularly when the polls have been announced.

The Gandhi `magic` was in full flow in Uttar Pradesh, where the party won an impressive 22 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, its best performance in 20 years.

Congress leaders are hoping for the repetition of this in Bihar as well.

PTI