Lalu pitches new grand alliance to take on BJP in 2019
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Lalu pitches new grand alliance to take on BJP in 2019

Prasad has been making efforts to form a national-level, Bihar-type grand alliance that defeated the BJP in the 2015 state election.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 23:58 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
Rashtriya Janata Dal,Lalu Prasad Yadav,Akhilesh Yadav
RJD Leader Lalu Prasad during an opposition party meeting at Parliament House Library in New Delhi, India, on June 22, 2017. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav hinted at a possible alliance between arch-rivals Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, making a case for opposition unity to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 general elections.

The powerful Bihar politician said a united opposition would spoil the BJP’s chances, which is why the ruling party had launched a political witch-hunt to break rival leaders.

He accused the BJP of trying to put a scam taint on him and his family, “Mayawati-ji, Akhilesh-ji, Robert Vadra-ji, Priyanka Gandhi-ji, Mamata Didi or Kejriwal … because it knows our power very well”.

“It is aware that if we all come together, its dream of again forming a government in 2019 will remain a dream,” he said.

Prasad has been making efforts to form a national-level, Bihar-type grand alliance that defeated the BJP in state elections in 2015. He tried to broker unity among anti-BJP parties ahead of this year’s UP assembly polls, but his efforts didn’t succeed.

The SP and Congress forged an alliance, the BSP fought alone, and all three lost badly to the BJP.

Prasad said Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati could join forces this time and defeat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

“This combination will prove a winning bet for the anti-BJP forces in UP which sends the maximum number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. It will oust the saffron party from power at the Centre in 2019,” he said speaking at the RJD’s 21st Foundation Day celebration.

His comments came three months after the BJP’s landslide win in UP polls, where the party and its allies got 325 of the 403 assembly seats. The ruling party won 71 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014.

Prasad, however, did not put Bihar chief minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on his list of leaders targeted by the BJP. He is apparently upset with coalition partner Kumar over his support for BJP’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind.

The RJD chief has shared a strained relationship with Gandhi since the Congress leader vetoed a UPA government ordinance in 2013 to protect convicted lawmakers that would have helped Prasad remain an MP till acquitted in the fodder scam case.

The BJP has accused Prasad and his family of benami property deals worth Rs 1,000 crore. Thereafter, taxmen raided various locations in New Delhi and nearby areas in May linked to him or his family members. The West Bengal and Delhi chief ministers, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, are also accused of corruption.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra is not facing any scam charges, though her husband Robert Vadra is being investigated for land deals in Haryana.

The RJD chief has invited top opposition leaders to his Patna rally on August 27 , named “BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao”.

“The BJP wants to pack all of us in jail by discrediting us as promoters of scams. But I never fear incarceration. I want to throw out the BJP from power in the interest of the country and will never compromise on ideology,” Prasad said.

Prasad said he feared he might land in jail before the August 27 rally “as a result of the BJP’s vendetta politics”.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 23:50 IST