It was an occasion which brought all of them together — leaders ranging from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, the crowd mostly focussed on two of them — Nitish and Kejriwal.
Security personnel had a difficult time trying to protect the duo as a large number of people wanted to speak to them. This, despite the fact that Nitish, even though the CM, leads only the second largest outfit in a three-party ruling coalition and Kejriwal presides over a government with limited powers.
The venue was the Tughlaq Road house of JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav. The event was the launch of a coffee-table book, Sharad Yadav- Sangharsh Ke Senani, by Manoj Krishnan, capturing the public and personal life of the socialist leader. The book was launched by Vice-President Hamid Ansari. There was a brief photo-session, but no speeches. Neither RJD chief Lalu Prasad nor his aide Prem Chand Gupta was present. Gupta, a Rajya Sabha member, told The Indian Express that there was some important matter for which he had to get to Patna, while Lalu was already there. “Otherwise, a programme at Sharadji’s place is our own,” he said. The party was represented by RJD MP Jai Prakash Narain Yadav.
JD(U) sources found it hard to offer reasons for Lalu’s absence. “We have no idea,” they said.