Constituents of the now-defunct Janata Parivar called the BJP a “pack of lies” at their first mass rally in the New Delhi on Monday, drawing for themselves a “confederation of losers” tag in return.
The BJP’s riposte came after Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Lalu Prasad and JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar made a united pitch at Jantar Mantar to “sink old prejudices” that led to their splitting from the erstwhile Janata Dal and join hands to provide an alternative to the BJP’s so-called divisive politics.
They were joined on the dais by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda of JD(S), Dushyant Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal and SJP's Kamal Morarka.
The leaders called the rally the first solid step towards the merger of the parties to form a grand alliance and recalled the socialism-leaned Janata parivar that had formed three governments in the past.
Former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar hummed a Hindi film song before unleashing a scathing attack on Narendra Modi, the man he loves to loathe, saying the Prime Minister has been sitting atop a pack of lies because he hasn’t fulfilled his main promise ahead of the May Lok Sabha poll to bring back black money stashed abroad.
Audio clips of Modi speeches on his black money pledge were played, much to the amusement of hundreds of supporters applauding every move on the dais — the clapping and cheering helping fight the Delhi chill.
“They promised jobs to the youth and Rs 15 lakh to everyone (from the black money they would bring back). They even asked people to open bank accounts. But where is the money?” asked Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The leaders accused Modi of not reining in radical Hindu groups accused of converting Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.
Kumar said the rally is proof that it's time to forget things of the past and script a new chapter. “From our identities as separate parties, we have to merge in a single party. An agreement has been reached on this. Mulayam Singh has to work out the modalities. Let us take a vow now.”
“We should contact even others. Let us make a comprehensive opposition,” Kumar said.
What’s left unsaid was Mamata Banerjee representative Derek O'Brien’s absence from the rally, though the West Bengal chief minister sent a letter of support to the Janata parivar reunion.
Tariq Anwar and DP Tripathi from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were on the stage, giving a hint of where the party’s loyalties stand.
The BJP lashed out at the Janata parivar, saying it was hilarious that it was preaching good governance and holding Parliament to ransom at the same time. “Janata parivar is nothing but a confederation of losers,” party spokesperson Sambit Patra said.