INDIA bloc slams BJP’s ‘lies’ at its rally in Bihar | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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INDIA bloc slams BJP’s ‘lies’ at its rally in Bihar

By, Patna
Mar 04, 2024 04:42 AM IST

Top opposition leaders of the INDIA alliance criticized the BJP in a rally in Patna, targeting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for switching alliances.

In a show of strength by the Opposition, top leaders of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) addressed a joint rally in Patna, roundly criticising the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-run Centre for neglecting the country’s poor and specifically targeting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for repeatedly switching alliances.

Top leaders of the INDIA bloc at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday. (ANI)
Top leaders of the INDIA bloc at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday. (ANI)

The “Jan Vishwas Maha Rally” was attended by a slew of top Opposition leaders — Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and senior Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja.

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The event also marked Prasad’s first public rally in nearly nine years — his last was in mid-2015.

Gandhi, who paused his ongoing “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra and flew in from Madhya Pradesh” to attend the public meeting, called Bihar the country’s “political nerve-centre” and said transformations in the country always germinated in the eastern state.

“Whenever there is a transformation in the country, it begins from Bihar and then reaches the rest of the country. Bihar is the political nerve centre of our country,” said Gandhi.

Arguing that the country was in the crosshairs of an “ideological war”, the Congress lawmaker from Wayanad in Kerala also turned to his oft-repeated refrain: “One party is trying to create hatred, but we are offering nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan (In a market of hate, a shop for love).”

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The former Congress president also accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of “working for only two-three super-rich people and neglecting Dalits and backward classes who comprise 73%”.

The mega rally in Gandhi Maidan in Patna, which began at 11am and carried on till 4pm, was attended by over a hundred thousand people, and came a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its first list of 195 candidates for the summer’s Lok Sabha elections.

Modi will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, the constituency he currently represents. The party also named 34 Union ministers and ministers of state, including home minister Amit Shah, who will return to his constituency of Gandhinagar in Gujarat and defence minister Rajnath Singh who will contest from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

Also Read | 'Modi asked me…,' Tejashwi counters PM's attack on father Lalu Yadav

The rally was also a show of unity for an alliance that for weeks looked on the brink of collapse, especially after Bihar chief minister Kumar quit his party’s “mahagathbandhan” in the state and returned to the National Democratic Alliance once again this January.

Key constituents of the bloc have, in the weeks since, shored up alliances and seat-sharing pacts in a host of states. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for instance, stitched up agreements for Delhi, while the former and the Samajwadi Party agreed on a split for Uttar Pradesh.

Members of the alliance targeted Kumar and accused him of being of “weak ideology”.

In a swipe at Kumar, Kharge said, “Those who are not strong ideologically cannot fight and you (Tejashwi Yadav) should not take him into the party if he returns again.”

The Congress chief also lauded Yadav for creating jobs during his 17 months as Bihar’s deputy chief minister.

“In 2014, Modi said he will give 2 crore (20 million) jobs to young people every year. Did he deliver? He did not, but Tejashwi delivered what he promised by giving jobs to nearly 200,000 people... The INDIA alliance delivers what it promises, and this is a perfect example of it,” said Kharge.

The most caustic attacks on Kumar, however, came from his long-time rival, two-time former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad.

“The palturam (turncoat) label has stuck to his persona because of his own deeds. I can see funny videos about him on social media and wonder whether these do not drive him to shame,” said the 75-year-old.

He also implored the state’s voters to go the ballot against the ruling BJP.

“Bihar’s opinion has so much power that the people of the country imitate what Bihar decides. The same is also going to happen in the future,” Prasad said.

Referring to Modi’s speeches at back-to-back rallies in Aurangabad and Begusarai districts, Tejashwi Yadav said, “Modi ji had indirectly taunted me yesterday, saying I was wary of speaking about my father’s deeds. I am responding to him. May he take note with eyes and ears open as I speak in front of the massive crowd (Jan sailab) out here.”

“My father had turned the railways around in the UPA government. Earlier, it was making losses but under his stewardship, it made a profit of 90,000 crore,” he said.

Also taking a potshot at CM Kumar, he said, “Modi boasts about his guarantees. I challenge him to give a guarantee that uncle (chacha) Nitish Kumar will not do yet another volte face.”

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, for his part, also stressed that Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were crucial to shaping the country’s electoral fortunes.

“UP (with 80 Lok Sabha seats) and Bihar (40) together have 120 seats. If we ensure the BJP’s rout in these two states, the party will not be able to form the government at the Centre,” he said.

BJP spokespersons called the rally “a flop” that generated little enthusiasm from voters.

Party spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “When Laluji spoke at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, there was no crowd near the stage. RJD unsuccessfully tried an image make-over by mobilising opposition leaders across India. In the flop Jan Vishwas rally, leaders sang a collective elegy of the INDI Alliance’s failure.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ruchir writes on health, aviation, power and myriad other issues. An ex-TOI, he has worked both on Desk and in reporting. He over 25 years of broadcast and print journalism experience in Assam, Jharkhand & Bihar.

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