Lalu lightens up serious mood
At a press conference on Friday, Yadav’s remarks evoked laughter as he recalled the poll promises made by Narendra Modi as PM candidate during the general elections 2014.
The otherwise serious mood in the INDIA coalition was lightened up by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav who is known as one of the wittiest leaders in the country. At a press conference on Friday, Yadav’s remarks evoked laughter as he recalled the poll promises made by Narendra Modi as PM candidate during the general elections 2014. He said, “We also believed him and opened bank accounts. We are an 11-member family and all of us opened our bank accounts when Modi ji declared to deposit ₹15 lakh in the accounts of all the Indians. I also got tricked and thought that the family could get a good amount of money but got nothing,” the former railway minister said in his unique style. Lauding the ISRO scientists, Yadav had a request for them: “Send Modiji to our expedition. He will be lauded all over the world,” he remarked.
Mamta Banerjee raises eyebrows
Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee was among the first of the leaders who reached Mumbai on August 30, a day before the INDIA coalition meeting. But she was also the first leader who left the city soon after the meeting. Banerjee even chose not to attend the presser. She also was not on the stage during the media interaction. There was no representation from her party in her absence. The TMC chief was not happy with the pace at which the INDIA alliance is moving ahead and is said to have expressed her views openly during the meeting. There were other leaders who also had to catch their flights but chose to come for the presser even if for a few minutes.
Stalin’s Tamil address
Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK chief M K Stalin was among the prominent INDIA leaders who addressed the post-meeting press conference. He chose to speak in Tamil which most people present there did not understand. However, other leaders patiently waited for him to finish as they realised that he was doing it for the audience back home. CPI (M) secretary general Sitaram Yechury, who was invited after him to speak, jokingly asked which language he should speak: “Hindi because most people spoke in Hindi or English or should I speak in my mother tongue Telugu?” He then went on to speak in English.
The INDIA coalition meeting was a two-day conclave for which preparations had been going on for weeks. It was held at Hotel Grand Hyatt where all the high-profile leaders also stayed for two days. All the senior leaders from the MVA parties were directly involved in the process as they have also divided their responsibilities. Shiv Sena (UBT) had the responsibility of accommodation and hospitality. Things went smooth and all the leaders praised the arrangements. After the meeting was concluded and dignitaries left for their respective states, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray made it a point to meet the hotel staff to thank them. He spent some time with them and even posed for photoes with them. The hotel has Shiv Sena affiliated union.
Pat on the back for Chavan
While the leaders from three parties in MVA were involved in planning and looking after the arrangements of the two-day conclave, none of them were allowed to attend the INDIA meeting as it has been decided that only selected representatives from each of the party would take part in the discussions. From Congress, it was Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, president Mallikarjun Kharge and general secretary K C Venugopal attended it. A few minutes after the meeting started, state Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan was invited to attend it as a special invitee. It was seen as appreciation for Chavan who was the coordinator for the entire event in Mumbai.