New grand alliance in Bihar: Old Lalu bluster & pale Nitish shadow

Bypolls : Lalu talks of Modi ‘jinx’: ‘house collapse, Munde death’; Nitish smiles as chhota bhai

Written by Santosh Singh , Vandita Mishra | Jamalpur (hajipur) | Updated: August 12, 2014 10:31 am
Reunion of the year: Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar share dais after 21 years. (Source: Express Photo by Prashant Ravi) Reunion of the year: Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar share dais after 21 years. (Source: Express Photo by Prashant Ravi)

This is their second — and last stop — on Day 1 of their joint campaign for the 10 Assembly bypolls ten days away and it’s clear: it is bada bhai (elder brother) Lalu Prasad Yadav’s stage and chhota bhai (younger brother) Nitish Kumar shares it.

It’s not just that he’s clearly the elder in the ‘big brother-younger brother’ by-play that makes Lalu own the stage in their first joint rally in over two decades since they broke up. It’s the way he strides in late surrounded by gun-toting commandos — Nitish stands up to welcome him and be hugged by him — and speaks last. It’s the manner in which Lalu sits astride his chair, as on a throne, while Nitish seems to subside into his.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) senior leader Nitish Kumar at a by-election rally in Hajipur on Monday. (Source: PTI) RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) senior leader Nitish Kumar at a by-election rally in Hajipur on Monday. (Source: PTI)

Lalu is imperious, now admonishing a noisy section of the crowd that has assembled in the dusty grounds of a local school, and then cutting short a speaker’s lengthy introductory remarks, commanding him to keep it short.

His is the tone of the emperor who brooks no dissent, not a recently jailed politician who has lost his parliamentary seat, is disqualified from contesting elections and whose party has lost successive assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state he once ruled.nitish-lalu

This is Lalu’s show in a more significant way. He speaks after Nitish but it is almost as if he has set the tone for Nitish’s speech.

Lalu speaks about how India needs to be saved from Narendra Modi and how he and Nitish will do it together. Lalu pledges to fight many evils — this is a battle between “mandal and kamandal” he says, while also railing against “social media” and the “internet”, FDI in railways and insurance, price rise and the “bullet train”. For him, all evils converge in the Modi government, which is “endangering the country”.

It was sworn in at the Centre, he taunts, at the “inauspicious hour of 6.15 pm”, a time when “mothers urge their children to keep awake, be watchful, not give in to sleep”. It has presided over a series of disasters — ever since, by his count, a building has collapsed in Chennai, students were swept away by the river waters in Uttarakhand and Gopinath Munde died.nitish-lalu1

In his speech, just like Lalu, Nitish, too, paints a battle for the state’s assembly bypolls being fought by an allegedly sinister “Centre” on one side — he is still coy about taking Modi’s name.

The real problem, he says, is that Delhi is now in the grip of a party that has no link or association with the fight for the nation’s freedom and which is now injecting the “poison” of communalism in the polity. It is a government that may have won a majority, he says, but it has done so through “prachar tantra”, “jhoot tantra”, “apvaad” ( propaganda and false claims). He talks of the CSAT controversy: “They showed big dreams to the young, who were misled and prevailed upon their parents to vote for them. And they are now placing obstacles in the way of civil services aspirants, denying them job opportunities”.


For Nitish, on the other side of the battle lies “Bihar”. But, curiously, the nearly two-term chief minister evokes Bihar in abstract ways — invoking names from its rich tradition of socialist politics and images from an ancient past. He makes no mention of the policy and programme of the government he led in the state from 2005 till the time he passed the baton to a partyman after the setback in the Lok Sabha polls.

LALU-2Nitish talks of Karpoori Thakur and Rammanohar Lohia who he claims have been overlooked for the Bharat Ratna. He talks of Bihar as “krantikariyon ki bhoomi”.

Alongside Lalu at Mohiuddinagar, it is as if Nitish doesn’t have a governance record to speak of, which he or his party’s candidates can fight on. It is almost as if, in the company of Lalu, he has given up trying to make it a part of his appeal to Bihar’s voter.

Earlier in the day, in Jamalpur in Hajipur, the two called their unity a “a call for consolidation of socialist and secular forces”, not just for Bihar but for the country. Lalu even appealed to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati to come together to put up a joint fight for the “garib-gurba (the poor)” against the BJP and Nitish said that the BJP might “run the government but cannot run the country”.

“BJP’s president Amit Shah recently said Nitish is sitting in my lap. Chhota bhai bade bhai ke god me nahi baithega to kahan baithega (It is only natural for a younger brother to sit in lap of his elder brother)”, said Lalu as Nitish smiled.

“RJD and JD(U) had to sink their differences and move ahead,” said Nitish. “We have started our campaign from Vaishali that was the birthplace of the first republic. We are together to fight against the politics of whipping up a religious frenzy.” Lalu Prasad interrupted Nitish to add: “Hamara jod balu aur cement ka jod hai (our combination is that of sand and cement)”.

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  1. A
    Aug 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    Two gagas getting together. what a sight to see. Nitish has overdone his ego - sky high
  2. A
    Ajay Kumar
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:29 am
    God help Bihar. These two, together with all politicians and parties should be exiled to North Korea. Thus freed from these incompetent, caste based parasites, Bihar would look for genuine, committed, honest leaders like Narendra Modi to fill the vacuum and march towards prosperity.
  3. A
    allan Shringi
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm
    Finally NITESH KuMAR Ko guu khana paraa and LALU ANTI INDIAN IS TALKING
  4. A
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:47 am
    Politics is the art of possible where there are no permenant friends or enemies with strange bed fellows.
  5. A
    Anurag Srivastava
    Aug 12, 2014 at 4:27 am
    Arrogant marries an arrogant.
  6. A
    arnab Ghosh
    Aug 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm
    Congregation of losers
  7. S
    Subhash Bennur
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:42 am
    The photo looks like 2 ennuchs embracing each other for procreation for which they are incapable.
  8. B
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:40 am
    It is indisble truth that ever since these "Mandal" parties came into prominence afterso called dangerous JP movement, the country has witnessed a glaring political instability. Wrongly conceived JANTA PARTY experiment by merging all political parties with different ideologies except that Communist Parties and South India regional parties who sta away from this merger. Internal squabble destro this Janya Party and paved the way for reemergence of Congress Party under Indra hi and later on Rajiv hi. By this time Janta Party have splintered into BJP erstwhile Jana Sangha,what remains spitted into JANTA DAL(U), SMAJWADI PARTY, BAHUJANSMAJ PARTY,RJD, LOK DAL, INLD, BIJU JANTA DAL , JD(S) etc in Bihar, UP, ODISA, HARYANA .Thus the era of coalition governments at Centre and Provinces gained the ir roots.Political instability not only failed giv any direction to Central Govt to gain any ECONOMIC PROMINENCE but presented to the world INDIA as a SPLINTERED NATION of divergent loyalty and ideology. India as a Nation was no more on world political horizonNow that India has a majority Govt of one party but still a part of NDA, these jokers of so called "LOHIA IDEOLOGY" are trying to come together. Shall these fighting CATS LALLU and NITISH shall ever share the LOAF equally until some clever Monkey shall take away every portion of loaf to keep themselves cheated..I still believe if NDA can expand even at this stage , so that all PROGRESSIVE BILLS go through smoothly not only in Lok Sabha but also in Rajya Sabha. At this moment it is the only way to BRING SWARAJYA INTO INDIA and defeat those whohad made this NATION infested with POLITICAL CORRUPTION.
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