Within a day after his release from Ranchi jail, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad was up and about. In a recent interview, he spoke to Arun Kumar on the need to stitch an alliance with Congress and widen the alliance net to stop Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Back from jail on bail, what is your next agenda?
It is to stop the communal and fascist forces who are trying to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister. But it will never happen. I am here and I will make people aware of their designs to divide the country and create a 1947-like situation.
How will you counter the BJP, with Narendra Modi adding momentum to it?
The need of the hour is for all secular and like-minded parties to come together. I am planning a rally in Patna in February to announce our poll intentions. Tomorrow, I will be in Delhi, enroute to Muzaffarnagar. After that, I will start campaigning. It is now or never.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi talked to you. Is an alliance on the cards?
Soniaji called to inquire about my well-being. Let’s see what happens in Delhi. I am all for the alliance. Congress is an old ally and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has always been with us. I don’t see why it should not continue.
But at one stage, speculations were rife about a Congress tie-up with JD(U) in Bihar. Then, there were also some talks of a Third Front.
I told you my opinion. The last time, a Congress-RJD alliance could not be stitched for many reasons and we have both suffered. As far as the Third Front is concerned, it will never happen. Experience tells us it cannot last.
Last time, talks broke down over seat adjustment between the Congress and you.
The need of the hour is to shun petty differences make some sacrifices. The RJD will go the extra mile to accommodate a much wider coalition. It is not about us anymore. It is about the people of India.
Is there a possibility of a grand alliance in Bihar with the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress?
Janata Dal (United) is part of the BJP game plan. Nitish Kumar will not be a factor at all in the next election. Now, I have heard that JD(U) is asking banks to organise ‘loan melas’ on his rally days to draw crowds.
How do you see Rahul Gandhi’s projection as the PM candidate? This election is increasingly turning out to be a personality clash between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
How can you compare a man charged with ignoring the (Gujarat) riots with Rahul Gandhi? It is the Congress’ prerogative who they want to project. Whoever they choose as their leader is acceptable to me.
How do you see the NaMo wave?
There is no wave. It is all a psychological war, unleashed by the corporate biggies and some international forces, to hammer it into the minds of people that Narendra Modi is the only choice. Modi, I tell you, is a US-backed candidate.
How can you say so, especially after poll reverses to Congress in four states?
The four states had different factors working. In Rajasthan, certain incidents, including the Bhanwari Devi murder case, turned the tide against the Congress. The Congress has done a lot of good work. But sometimes, the rising price of onions can dilute it. Another thing is the growing trend of announcing sops. Some promise laptops, others offer TV. Someday there will be offers of a Maruti car. You see what happened in Delhi. The AAP promised so much that the people lost reason. Congress lost.
You cannot contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. How much impact will you be able to make?
People can implicate me and send me to jail. But they cannot destroy my identity. I am confident I will get justice and be acquitted. No matter how clever the politicians play, the electorate has its own way of answering them.