Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar on Sunday kept mum over the possibility of the Janata Parivar reuniting to form a third front, even as Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shivpal Yadav and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala called for its formation during the INLD’s Sadbhavana rally in Karnal.
The INLD had organised the rally to mark 103rd birth anniversary of its founder and former prime minister late Devi Lal.
“The country is facing a threat of communal forces. There is a need to get united as history tells us whenever the followers of Ram Manohar Lohia and Devi Lal got together, the communal forces were defeated,” said Shivpal Yadav, younger brother of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party goes to polls in Uttar Pradesh next year.
INLD leader Abhay Chautala also stressed the need to form a third front. “We need to get united. If we take the battle forward under one leader, I assure you that people of Haryana will support you to dethrone the communal forces,” he said, addressing the visiting leaders.
Nitish Kumar, however, ignored the call for formation of a third front during his 22-minute speech. Although he agreed that communal forces should be defeated, he did not talk about the need for political outfits to come together under one leader. Nitish, however, extended his support to Chautalas and the INLD in the state.
During his speech, Nitish also appealed to Shivpal Yadav and Abhay Chautala to make efforts in the direction of making their states liquor-free on the lines of Bihar.
“After the ban on liquor in Bihar, people there are happy with the decision. Now, I want to appeal to Shivpal ji to take steps to make UP liquor-free too,” he said, adding that the INLD should also lead a campaign to force the Haryana government to make the state liquor-free.
Badals stay away
The Shiromani Akali Dal, which is in alliance with the BJP in Punjab and will be going to polls next year, maintained distance from the annual rally.
Punjab chief minister and SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal has had a long association with the INLD, and in a previous rally his son and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal had targeted Haryana governments, including the present BJP government, for failure to bring development to the state.
Leaders slam crop insurance scheme
During the rally, the leaders condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar for forcing farmers to pay the premium under the PM crop insurance scheme.
“The scheme has been launched to provide benefit to insurance companies,” said JD(U) leader KC Tyagi. Both Tyagi and Nitish slammed Modi for his alleged failure to deliver on the promises made to farmers during the elections.
INLD tries to woo dalits
The INLD also tried to woo Dalits during the rally, as the organisers installed a bust of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar near Devi Lal’s bust on the dais. Party leaders praised Ambedkar’s efforts and said they were also celebrating his 125th birth anniversary.