Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad said on Thursday that his party would contest the West Bengal Assembly polls in 2011 as an ally of the Left.
“Earlier we used to come to Bengal as freelancers and campaign for others. But now we have a firm base here. We will contest the polls alongside the Communist Party of India (Marxist). If the Left parties do not want us as allies, we will fight on our own,” said the former Union railway minister.
Prasad, however, continued to wave the olive branch at Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “The RJD does not share any animosity with the Congress. I have a friendly relation with Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
On paper, the RJD is already an ally of the CPI(M) in Bengal. The party even won an Assembly seat in 2006. But Prasad made no attempt to shield Bengal on the Naxalite issue.
“It is well known that West Bengal is the national university of all Naxalites. Leaders like Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal started the Naxalite movement in the 1970s. Bengal is their base and it is from here that Naxalite entered Bihar,” he said.
Handing a thumbs down to a military solution proposed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the RJD chief said: “Social injustice is the root to the Naxalite problem and it can be solved only through dialogues and reforms. India is a country of non-violence. Air strikes cannot be the solution.”
“Blood for blood policy by the government will not bring a solution to the Maoist problem,” Prasad said, adding he had stated it in Parliament as well.
He said that poverty was the main reason which helped Maoists thrive and the government should solve this problem first. “The government should also talk to the people.”
The RJD chief remained silent on his successor in the railway ministry and Sonia Gandhi’s newfound ally, Mamata Banerjee. His only complaint was railway projects in Bihar had “slowed down” after the new UPA government took charge.