Congress president Sonia Gandhi, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad came together to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi from a common platform, holding their grand alliance’s first big rally in poll-bound Bihar on Sunday.
Sharing the dais at the Swabhiman rally, the three invoked “Bihari pride” to launch a scathing attack on Modi for his DNA jibe at Kumar. They also accused the NDA government of trying to “grab” farmers’ land.
“Some people enjoy insulting Bihar… They insult Bihar’s DNA. They also call it Bimaru. But the huge crowd here shows that people of Bihar always stand up for their dignity,” Gandhi said. Accusing the PM of going back on poll promises, she said, “The Modi government has completed one-fourth of its time.
Till now, what has it done other than showbaazi?”
At a rally in Gaya earlier this month, Modi had kicked up a political storm by saying “there seems to be some problem with his (Kumar’s) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that”. The PM had also announced that the state was yet to shed its Bimaru tag — an acronym for development-starved Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Demanding that Modi take back his remarks, Bihar CM Kumar said, “My DNA is the same as that of the people of Bihar, the place where Gautam Buddha gained enlightenment, where Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra, where Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh came from.”
“He (Modi) has questioned my integrity and I will not accept that,” Kumar added.
Aerial view of the rally venue. (HT Photo)
The alliance also sought to claim credit for making the government “bow down” on proposed changes to the UPA government’s land acquisition bill. “This government is anti-farmer and tried to grab their land to serve the interests of big businessmen and rich friends. We fought for farmers’ rights in Parliament and eventually the government had to bow down,” Gandhi said.
“This was not the PM’s mann ki baat but that of the nation,” Kumar said, referring to the government’s decision to let the land ordinance lapse.
The bonhomie between the three leaders, who have exchanged bitter words in the past, was on full display with Gandhi crediting Lalu and Nitish for Bihar’s development. “Congress government had made valuable contributions in the development of Bihar. Both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad have made effective use of central funds for Bihar,” she said.
Kumar too mounted a strong defence of Lalu against Modi’s jibe of “jungle raj” directed at the RJD. Terming the JD(U)-RJD-Congress-SP coalition as “mangal raj part-2”, Lalu said the BJP wanted to create communal tension. “I know their design. Modi called us jungle raj part-2 but this is mangal raj part-2.” Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav gave the rally a miss and was represented by his brother Shivpal Yadav.