As Nitish Kumar looked more comfortable in company of Lalu Prasad in Chhapra on Sunday than their first meeting last week, the RJD chief warmly responded by addressing the JD(U) stalwart as “popular” former Bihar CM and also ensuring “Bharat Milap (warm embrace)” on the stage to publicly exhibit their unity.
The two leaders asserted that they had come together to find an “antidote to venon of communalism being spread by BJP”. The RJD leader said the grand alliance would have far reaching impact on Bihar and national politics, maintaining it was not important who becomes Bihar CM after the Assembly elections next year as their “priority is the country”.
Launching frontal attack on BJP, Nitish termed the saffron party a “rumour spreading society”, while Lalu took on Narendra Modi saying the PM “dropped Gandhi topi for saffron pagdi” during his Independence Day speech, and termed it a “dangerous sign”.
The poll rally in Chhapra was the second meeting of Lalu and Nitish after they reunited after two decades at a Hajipur rally on August 11. Senior Congress leader C P Joshi also shared the dais.
Controversial former RJD MP Prabhunath Singh and incarcerated former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin’s wife Hina were also present at the meeting. This was the first time ever Nitish shared stage with Hina, the wife of infamous criminal-politician.
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Chhapra bypoll is a battle of prestige for Lalu Prasad, more so after his wife Rabri Devi lost last seat to BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
RJD has fielded former MP Prabhunath Singh’s son Randhir Singh against BJP’s first-timer Kanhaiya Singh and BJP rebel Independent CN Gupta, who threatens to cut into the saffron party’s base OBC Vaishya votes.
Nitish, who was the first to attack BJP for “being a party that creates rumour such as Lord Ganesha is drinking milk and jovially talking about disadvantages of JD(U) government electrifying over 20,000 villages”, said: “So many people now have access to TV sets because of regular power supply and BJP succeeded in even pulling our voters by ‘abki baar Modi sarkar’ slogan”.
He wondered why BJP talked about moratorium on communal violence for only 10 years. “Does it mean they want violence after 10 years? They are only good at running venomous campaign and not running the country,” said the JD(U) leader said.
Lalu, who chose to cater to dominant upper caste population in Chhapra constituency, also cautioned “backpacks carrying ‘laptop brigade’ of youths” against NDA saying BJP had been now “talking if FDI could be brought in railways”. “Ab angrej rail chalenge (now foreigners would run railways),” the RJD leader said.
At the well-attended rally, he also took a jibe at Modi for “preferring to wear saffron pagdi ahead of Gandhi topi” during Independence Day speech.
Talking about his “younger brother”, Lalu said, “It is not important who becomes next CM but our priority is country. We have come together to find medicine to BJP rise.”