After a gap of 20 years, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar, friends-turned-foes who have become friends again, shared dais in Hajipur on Monday as they began a joint campaign for the upcoming by-elections in Bihar.
Both of them come together to address an election rally at Hazipur for the by polls on the 10 assembly seats of Bihar scheduled on August 21. JD (U), RJD and Congress are in the alliance for the by polls. All three parties are fighting together against the BJP.
Kumar, who had parted ways with Lalu in 1994 and succeeded in dethroning him in Bihar in 2005 in alliance with BJP, said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre knows that it cannot fulfill the tall promises it has made and will resort to spreading religious passion to cling to power.
“They can run government. They cannot run the country. Did ‘achchhe din (good days)’ come?” he asked, referring to BJP’s slogan during elections.
“Achchhe din will never come. But they have come for some people in BJP. In fact, their ‘apne din (own days)’ have come,” said Kumar, who split with BJP last year over his opposition to Modi’s elevation as Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP, and quit as Chief Minister after his party JD (U) was routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
He said his alliance with Lalu, whose party RJD also fared poorly in polls but fetched more votes than JD (U), was the need of the hour as the country was in “danger”.
Hitting out at BJP, Kumar said it is for the first time that those leaders are in power who did not spend a single day in jail during freedom struggle.
“Our forefathers sacrificed their lives. We all know the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Lohia, Vallabhbhai Patel, Ambedkar . . . Now those people are in the seat of power who did not spend a day behind bars,” he said, in an apparent attack on the BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, which mostly kept away from political movements during the freedom struggle.
On the other hand, RJD President Lalu Prasad attacked PM Modi directly and said that “We will defeat the one who are trying to divide the nation. We were divided, but if we keep criticising each other, the country will go in the hands of wrong people. Modi came to power and ill-fated things happened in the nation.”
Lalu Prasad added more and said, “Our alliance sent a good message to everybody and I also request Mulayam Singh & Mayawati to come in this maha-alliance.”
In 2005, Nitish Kumar united with the BJP and put Lalu’s RJD out from power. Nitish and Lalu are due to address public rallies at Hajipur and Mohadi Nagar.