LOS­ING FO­CUS As Lalu Strug­gles, BJP Dubs His Patna Gath­er­ing ‘Rally of the Cor­rupt’

Ma­mata yet to speak to RJD chief af­ter col­lapse of his govt with Ni­tish

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Mad­hu­parna.Das@ times­group.com

Patna: Au­gust 27 was set to be a red-let­ter day for the anti-BJP Ma­ha­gat­band­han par­ties. Rat­tled by back-to-back raids and al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against him­self and his kin, it was to be Lalu Prasad’s moment of de­fi­ance, ral­ly­ing a united op­po­si­tion and chal­leng­ing the Cen­tre. But, with Ni­tish Ku­mar do­ing a ‘ghar wapsi’ by join­ing hands with the BJP and even­tu­ally fail­ing the idea of a Ma­ha­gath­band­han, the “Swab­hi­man rally” or “BJP Hatao Desh Ban­chao” rally, of Lalu is now re­duced to more of a show of strength against his once ‘sec­u­lar’ mas­cot.

In­vi­ta­tions have been sent out to im­por­tant lead­ers of na­tional pol­i­tics. But the BJP is not far be­hind in its at­tempt to counter Lalu and foil his plans. A con­certed at­tempt has be­gun in Bi­har with the saf­fron party claim­ing that the Au­gust 27 rally will be noth­ing more than a “con­gre­ga­tion of the cor­rupt” and any­one shar­ing dais is also a part of the tribe.

“This rally should ac­tu­ally be c a l l e d a s Be­nami S a mpatt i Ban­chao rally. Par­ties like the SP, BSP, TMC and Congress, which have se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion charges against them, have joined hands to make the rally suc­cess­ful. They are us­ing the word sec­u­lar­ism to shield cor­rup­tion,” said deputy chief min­is­ter and se­nior BJP leader Sushil Modi.

KC Tyagi, the na­tional gen­eral sec­re­tary of Ni­tish’s Janata Dal(U), echoed Modi. “One can see the in­di­vid­ual who is or­gan­is­ing the rally. From his name, it is very clear what this will turn out to be. What kind of pol­i­tics is this? For how long, this pol­i­tics of loot will be al­lowed,” he said. “In Bi­har, even if a per­son goes to jail for com­mit­ting heinous crime, his com­mu­nity peo­ple would sup­port him, say­ing tum age bado, hum tumhare saath hain. But no­body will ask that per­son to ex­plain his crime. None asked Lalu how he ac­cu­mu­lated such be­nami prop­er­ties.” Now, what re­mains to be seen is who all will fi­nally end up shar­ing the dais with Lalu. His Rashtriya Janata Dal has been in­vest­ing all its money and en­ergy to make the rally suc­cess­ful by bring­ing in as many as na­tional lead­ers of the Op­po­si­tion bloc on the podium as pos­si­ble. It has also launched an ex­ten­sive cam­paign through so­cial net­work­ing sites.

The big­gest coup the Lalu camp is aim­ing for is get­ting se­nior JD(U) leader Sharad Ya­dav to at­tend the rally and join the RJD. The vet­eran politi­cian has kept his cards close to his chest. A close aide of Ya­dav said he has yet to take a fi­nal call, though RJD lead­ers in Patna have an­nounced his pres­ence in the rally.

“Sharad ji will ad­dress a meeti ng of op­po­si­tion par t i e s at Delhi’s con­sti­tu­tional club on Au­gust 17 … Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, he will an­nounce his de­ci­sion,” his aide added. How­ever, se­nior JDU lead­ers said Ya­dav would never join the RJD.

West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter and TMC supremo Ma­mata Ban­er­jee, the first to an­nounce sup­port for the rally through Twit­ter, has over the last 10 days main­tained a stoic si­lence over the col­lapse of the Ma­ha­gath­band­han in Bi­har. Even though, all op­po­si­tion lead­ers in­clud­ing Rahul Gandhi, Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav, Mayawati, Si­taram Yechuri and oth­ers spoke to Lalu af­ter his re­cent po­lit­i­cal de­ba­cle, Ban­er­jee is the one who has yet to talk to him, said a se­nior RJD leader, a close con­fi­dant of Lalu.

He fur­ther added, be­fore the fall of Ma­ha­gath­band­han, Ban­er­jee had re­quested Lalu to post­pone the rally by a day, cit­ing an­other com­mit­ment she had in her state. But Lalu re­fused it say­ing the announcements were made and the Gandhi Maidan (the venue in Patna) was booked. Derek O’Brien, the na­tional spokesper­son of the party, con­firmed to ET that the Ben­gal CM would at­tend the rally in Patna.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.