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Bihar: Sonia, Lalu and Pawar to campaign jointly

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October 13, 2005 20:28 IST
In a bid to take on upbeat National Democratic Alliance in Bihar assembly polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi along with Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar would jointly address three election meetings on Saturday to consolidate their position.

The state Congress leader Prem Chand Mishra said the trio would begin their campaign at Gaya followed by a rally at Singhia and the last election meeting would be held at Patna for the first of four phase polls. The 61 of 243 assembly constituencies going to polls on October 18, mostly in Maoist hit districts.

The Nationalist Congress Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have formed the Secular Democratic Front and decided to contest the polls on a common manifesto. The other partner of SDF, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is contesting on its own manifesto.

For Sonia Gandhi, the party's star campaigner, who is also chairperson of the UPA, joint elections campaign along with Lalu would be a first in Bihar as they have never campaigned together in the state - either in the February assembly polls or the 2004 parliamentary polls.

On the other hand the NDA's star campaigner is senior Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who is chief ministerial candidate of the NDA along with the Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani would campaign on Friday. Health allowing, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would also campaign.

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna