With Assembly elections in Bihar not very far, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said his party will go to the masses to regain its lost moorings in the state.
“Whenever our party goes away from people, it loses. Congress had gone away from people in Bihar. Now the party will go to people and its impact will be seen in the coming times,” he said.
He was answering a question at a press conference as to why Congress remained out of power for so long in the state.
“It is not that the people have quit the Congress, but the Congress has left the people. However, now the party is again coming nearer to the people and its effect should be felt very soon,” the Congress leader said.
Mr. Gandhi, who ended his two-day visit to Bihar to galvanise the party for the Assembly elections later this year, said Bihar needed a greater change and youth power.
He said after the success of the NSUI and Youth Congress membership drive in Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Gujarat, it was Bihar’s turn. “The response is quite good,” he said.
Exuding confidence that the party will gain electoral success in the state, he said, “What we are doing in Youth Congress and NSUI here as well as what is happening in the party will definitely give us success.”
He, however, parried queries about incidents of infighting in the state unit of Congress.
Advocating a political alternative in the state, Mr. Gandhi said the kind of change that people of Bihar needed is not happening. “Bihar needs a big change”.
Noting that Bihar’s face has not changed in the last five years, Mr. Gandhi said the chief minister should find out the reasons behind it.
To drive home his point, he cited the good performance of Congress-ruled states like Delhi, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
Mr. Gandhi said one has to go to villages to see that schools and hospitals are not functioning and funds for rural job guarantee scheme NREGA are being siphoned off.
“There is no dearth of money but lack of delivery mechanism to people,” he said and also alleged that the money given by Centre for the Kosi flood victims did not reach the needy.
Asked about the state government’s demand for Rs. 14,800 crore for infrastructure development in the Kosi region where there was a devastating flood in 2008, Mr. Gandhi said Rs. 1,000 crore was given to the state for relief and rehabilitation.
“It is a huge amount, but it did not reach the people,” he said.