RJD chief Lalu Prasad's attempts to stitch an alliance with the Congress may be under strain, but he is keeping his spirits high. He says the RJD has the capability to take on the BJP and feels the will be JD(U) no factor in the Lok Sabha polls. Excerpts from an interview by Anirban Guha Roy:
What is the status of seat-sharing talks with Congress?
Talks are still on and I am hopeful of an alliance. But this election is on the issue whether India will stay united or be divided. Communal forces are trying to create frenzy and destroy India's unique identity. These are challenging times and Congress should realise it.
There is speculation that Congress may ally with JD(U). Will the RJD go it alone then?
I would not comment on such rumours. The RJD is committed to saving secularism; it is part of our manifesto. We are trying to get all secular parties to unitedly fight fascist forces. We will discuss many important issues in our parliamentary board meeting on Sunday.
The chief minister has called for Bihar bandh on Sunday for special status?
All this is a big drama. The demand was made by former CM Rabri Devi in 2002 but the NDA government - in which Nitish Kumar was a minister – rejected it. Now he is requesting all to beat thaalis (metal plates) without realising nobody uses brass thaalis nowadays. His supporters may be using bone china plates, which will be broken soon. The CM is restless like a cockroach thrown into an oil vessel.
The CM has claimed that the RJD would face more short-circuits…
He should know there are several dissidents in his own party as well. His transformer burnt when he expelled six dissident MPs who had left the party fold long ago. He will not be a factor in the Lok Sabha polls.
Former JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari has said the RJD, if it went alone, will sweep the polls?
That is Tiwariji's observation. I have known him for long and he does not shy away from calling a spade a spade. He was humiliated in the JD(U) since he was opposed to communal forces and spoke against the BJP even after the JD(U) broke up with the saffron outfit.