New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (CPI) is all set to invite Congress president Rahul Gandhi for a public event being organized by the Left party in Bihar’s capital, Patna next month.
This would be the first time that the Congress chief would attend an event organized by its former ally in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The move comes against the backdrop of renewed bon-homie between the two parties, which are currently in talks for a bigger opposition alliance in Telangana. The public meeting in Patna also gains importance as it could be yet another opportunity to showcase opposition strength.
“We are having a public rally in Patna on 25 October being organized by the CPI. We are going to invite all the key opposition parties, including the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other Left parties. I am going to give the invite to Rahul Gandhi in a day or two. Tejashwi Yadav is already on board," D. Raja, senior Rajya Sabha member and national secretary of CPI said in an interview.
The invite to Gandhi comes days ahead of a lecture scheduled to be given by former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh at an event being held in memory of veteran CPI leader A.B. Bardhan where he is the chief guest. This is the first time that Singh would attend an event being hosted by CPI since the Left parties withdrew their support to the UPA government in 2008 over the nuclear deal with the US.
Raja said the event is being hosted by CPI and it is Bihar specific, yet it would reach out to opposition parties such as the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Janata Dal (Secular). The CPI is expecting a big turnout for the public meeting and plans to hold it at Patna’s historical Gandhi Maidan.
“We are organizing a series of jatthas (processions) in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The jatthas will culminate in Bihar in the 25 October rally where we are going to invite Gandhi, Yadav and Sitaram Yechury among other leaders," K. Narayana, senior CPI leader and in-charge of Bihar, said in an interview.
The outreach of CPI to Gandhi is significant as it comes against the backdrop of a renewed political understanding between the two parties, which are giving a final shape to a pre-poll alliance in Telangana, along with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
Interestingly, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, which is the largest Left party in India, is not a part of the combine in Telangana and is exploring a separate alliance with smaller regional outfits.
The Left Front is eyeing an electoral alliance with the Congress in states such as Bihar and Tamil Nadu ahead of the general election. It is hopeful of striking an understanding with the Congress on a section of tribal seats in Chhattisgarh, which goes to poll later this year. While the Left Front has extended its support to the Congress and other opposition parties over a series of issues, the CPM, unlike the CPI, has been more guarded about an alliance with the Congress ahead of the 2019 polls.