Coming together on a common platform after two decades, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday shared the stage to launch an alliance of backward leaders.
<b1>The three leaders, who were a part of the unified Janata Dal, when it stormed to power at the centre in 1989 along with a number of states including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, before they parted ways a few years later, made it clear that their candidate for the prime minister’s post was Manmohan Singh. They also declared that the BJP was their enemy number one.
In remarks that would provide relief to the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad said: “We are part and parcel of the UPA, our relations are unbreakable. We have immense respect for Sonia ji and Manmohan Singh.”
Added Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan: “The UPA will remain intact after the elections and form the next government.”
The newly formed alliance ruled out any understanding with the third front. “We have nothing to do with the third front. There are some parties like the Left in it, who have been our natural allies, but by giving entry to forces like Mayawati’s BSP, they have caused trouble for us,” Lalu said. However, all the three leaders, who fell out with the Congress due to differences on seat sharing, blamed the “clerks and managers in the ruling party for creating bitterness.”
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said they had come together to expose the secret understanding between the BJP and the BSP in UP. "We have decided to bury our differences for a larger cause,” Mulayam said, hinting at his love-hate relationship with Lalu.
While Lalu and Paswan were categorical in their support to Manmohan Singh in the post-poll scenario, both the SP leaders, Mulayam and Amar Singh did not directly commit themselves towards supporting a Congress-led government.
It was left to Lalu and Paswan to attack the Mayawati government. “The BJP and BSP are hand-in-glove in the Varun Gandhi episode. When in 1990, I could arrest a leader like LK Advani, what prevented the UP government for arresting this boy as soon as he entered UP? “ asked Lalu.
Paswan charged the Mayawati government “with deliberately allowing Varun and his supporters to enact a drama for more than a day before taking action against him to polarise Hindu votes for the BJP and Muslim votes for the BSP."
The coming together of Mulayam, Lalu and Paswan is being seen as an attempt by the three leaders to put up as united face to face the tough challenge posed to them by Mayawati and Nitish Kumar in the two states.