RJD chief Lalu Prasad today claimed the country was witnessing an “emergency-like situation” under the BJP-led government at the Centre, and held that his efforts to bring UP opposition leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav together would “end the 2019 match”. The former Bihar chief minister, speaking at the 21st foundation day function of his party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, was referring to the next Lok Sabha polls.
In a scathing attack here against the NDA government, the RJD supremo said the country was witnessing an “undeclared emergency” which, he held, was worse than the one imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. “In the face of the kind of situation prevailing in the country today, the emergency days of the late Indira Gandhi would look very insignificant,” he said, while mentioning incidents of cow vigilantism.
He questioned the BJP’s portrayal of its presidential nominee, Ram Nath Kovind, as a Dalit. “In Gujarat, Kori (the caste to which Kovind belongs) is an OBC caste and constitutes around 18 per cent of the state population. Narendra Modi chose to field Kovind in the presidential election in order to attract votes of this big chunk,” Prasad claimed.
Meira Kumar, he added, belonged to an all-India Dalit caste. “Due to my firm ideology against communalism and fascism of the BJP and RSS, even if the Congress had supported an NDA candidate, I would not have voted for him,” he said.
The RJD is supporting Congress candidate Meira Kumar, who is being backed by 17 parties for the July-17 presidential poll. In a blistering attack against the BJP and RSS, Prasad said the party had humiliated senior leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi by not fielding them for the presidential post.
Prasad said he was making “earnest efforts” to bring BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav together at an August 27 rally being organised here by the RJD. “If Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav come together, the 2019 match (general election) is over,” he said, adding that the BJP had won the 2014 parliamentary poll as the opposition was then divided in the country.
Prasad, who was flanked by his minister sons Tejaswi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, was accompanied by a host of ministers and RJD leaders. He said prominent leaders of non-BJP parties would share the dais at the rally and “show a new direction to the country like Mahatama Gandhi had done by launching the Champaran Satyagraha against the British from Bihar”. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would participate in the mega rally, he said.
The speeding up of the trial in all four fodder scam cases against him in Ranchi and elsewhere, and the possibility of being imprisoned before the rally also featured in his speech to the RJD workers, MPs, legislators and office bearers from the district to the state level. “My star is moving here and there. Everyone of you must become a Lalu Yadav and organise the rally in the fashion you celebrate the marriage of your son or daughter,” he told the RJD workers and leaders.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines