SOON AFTER income-tax raids and surveys on several properties in Delhi and Gurgaon allegedly linked to Lalu Prasad, the RJD chief dared the BJP Tuesday to suppress his voice and warned that “crores of Lalus would rise across country” if his voice is suppressed.
While JD(U), its alliance partner in Bihar, said there is no threat to the alliance at least from its end, the party, unlike the RJD, fought shy of calling the raids part of a political vendetta. On Monday, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar had said that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre should “take help of law if it had facts on benami property against anyone”.
Ensconced in his official residence in the state capital — 10, Circular Road — Lalu did not face the media. Party leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Prabhunath Singh, Kanti Singh and Ajit Jha (son of senior party leader Raghuvansh Jha) visited the former chief minister through the day. The BJP has questioned Raghunath Jha and Kanti Singh’s motive in having allegedly gifted land and house to Lalu Prasad’s sons.
In a series of tweets at regular intervals, Lalu kept up his attack on the BJP. He called himself an “undefeatable warrior” who has “neither tired nor lost”. In one tweet, the RJD chief said: “Jyada laar mat tapkao. Gathbandhan atut hai. Abhi to saman vichardhara ke aur dalon ko jodna hai. Main BJP ke sarkari tantra and sarkari sahyogiyo se nahi darta (there is no reason for BJP to salivate. The alliance is unbreakable. In fact, we are in process of adding more parties with common ideologies. I am not afraid of the BJP’s system and agencies).”
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi hit back, saying Lalu was trying to “hide behind rhetoric of social justice, political vendetta and hessian of backwards”. Modi said, “He had tried this during the fodder cases but was convicted in one case…. It is Nitish Kumar who is responsible for resurrecting Lalu.” The Bihar BJP leader was deputy CM when Nitish’s JD(U) was in alliance with the BJP.
To mount pressure on Nitish to initiate action against the RJD chief’s family, Modi said central agencies had acted as per “Nitish Kumar’s suggestion, and it is now time for the state government to act as well”. JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Indian Express, “Let us wait for the facts to come out of these raids and let the law do its work. Let us assure that there is no threat to the alliance from our end. While several RJD leaders have spoken against Nitish in the past, no JD(U) leader has ever spoken against Lalu Prasad. We are the pioneer of Opposition unity.”
Asked whether the JD(U) considers the raids “political vendetta”, Tyagi said, “We would only say that the timing of the raids on premises of top Opposition leaders ahead of the President’s election is surprising. It looks like an attempt to discredit efforts of opposition unity.”