Gandhi's hour-long meeting with party MLAs happened just before the Congress leaders from Bihar accompanied Nitish Kumar outside to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Sources said that Gandhi asked the state leaders in detail about the controversy surrounding the row in JD(U) over chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's continuance.

Gandhi also asked the party leaders about the strategy to be adopted by Congress in Bihar for the Assembly elections to be held in the year-end.

The Congress vice president also took the suggestions on how to strengthen the party base in the Hindi-state where it is out of power on its own for last three decades. Gandhi talked at length on his pet subject of empowering the grassroots in the party structure and giving more power to district and block presidents.

Sources said that BJP's role in the current political crisis in Bihar also came up in the meeting, which was also attended by AICC general secretary in-charge for Bihar C P Joshi and state Congress chief Ashok Chowdhary.

The five party MLAs Sadanand Singh, Ajit Sharma, Md Javed, Touseef and Afaque Alam had come to Delhi as part of Nitish Kumar's plan of claiming the support of 130 MLAs in Bihar Assembly to stake his claim for the chief minister's post.

Elections in Bihar have become important after Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad coming together, Congress is hopeful that its grand alliance will give BJP a tough fight in the state, more so after Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party halting Modi's juggernaut in Delhi.

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