RJD rally highlights: Sharad Yadav calls for Grand Alliance at national level, Lalu says Nitish envy of Tejashwi’s popularity

Hindustan Times, Patna | ByVijay Swaroop, Ruchir Kumar and Arun Kumar
Aug 27, 2017 05:42 PM IST

All Patna roads led to the historic Gandhi Maidan on Sunday as Lalu Prasad’s RJD held a rally christened ‘Desh bachao, BJP bhagao (save the country, oust the BJP)’.

Leaders of anti-BJP parties attended the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s ‘Desh Bachao, BJP Bhagao’ rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi gave the meet a miss but their statements were read out at the rally.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is being welcomed at the RJD rally as Lalu Prasad looks on, in Patna on Sunday.(Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is being welcomed at the RJD rally as Lalu Prasad looks on, in Patna on Sunday.(Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

The rally comes against the backdrop of a slew of corruption cases against RJD boss Lalu Prasad and his family, and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to part ways with his foe-turned-friend-turned-rival. Out of power in Bihar after Kumar’s U-turn, Prasad is believed to be preparing his party to consolidate his Muslim-Yadav and OBC vote bank in a bid to counter BJP-JD(U) combine in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Here are the highlights:

5.00pm: Lalu Prasad ends speech, thanks people for turning up at the rally.

4.51pm: Lalu says liquor is available everywhere in Bihar and he had warned that prohibition would be difficult due to bordering states.

4.48pm: No party can ever trust Nitish Kumar now, says Lalu Prasad.

4.45pm: The RJD supremo claims he has all the documents related to Srijan scam, Sushil Modi knew it as the finance minister. What happened to zero tolerance now? he asks.

4.44pm: Lalu says:When I was in Ranchi to appear before the court, the CBI team came to my residence and Nitish left for Rajgir. Without state government’s knowledge, CBI cannot carry out raids.”

4.40pm: “The BJP has gripped Nitish Kumar and it will throw him out whenever it will feel so,” says Lalu at the RJD rally in Patna.

4.39pm: Nitish Kumar hobnobbed with the BJP and people warned me about it, but I said no he could not do it: Lalu.

4.36pm: Lalu Prasad continues to attack Nitish Kumar, says he envied Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav due to his increasing popularity.

4.34pm: Lalu says he kept his word and made Nitish Kumar CM despite the fact that RJD won maximum 80 seats. I slogged during polls despite heart surgery.

4.32pm: Nitish Kumar has no ideology, principle, says Lalu.

4.31pm: Sharadji and I made Nitish, says Lalu Prasad.

4.29pm: RJD chief Lalu Prasad says he had told during 2014 polls that the country will either remain intact or break, people then laughed at me.

4.06pm: RJD leader Rabri Devi thanks people for coming at their own expense to support Laluji, exhorts people to save the nation.

4.00pm: Mamata Banerjee says RSS can spread violence but cannot control even one, as was evident in Panchkula.

3.56pm: In the next election, Bihar people will leave Nitishji and the BJP, as Laluji and Sharadji kind of leaders can be trusted, not everyone can take the masses for a ride.

3.55pm: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee attacks the Centre for using agencies to terrorise people who dare speaking against it, says she is not afraid of anyone.

3.52pm: Mamata says the crowd response reflects people’s mood in Bihar, as they stayed at the Gandhi Maidan for hours.

3.48pm: West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee starts her speech.

3.46pm: Tejpratap says Hindu, Muslim, Sikh Isai are four sons of Bharat Mata, asks media to raise Srijan scam.

3.43pm: Tejpratap Yadav plays conch on stage to indicate start of the struggle, describes Tejaswhi as his Arjun.

3.40pm: RJD legislator Tej Pratap Yadav starts his speech, says the entire game of toppling Grand Alliance government was played within an hour.

3.38pm: Sharad ends his speech with Inqualab jindabad, says the country is in danger and the struggle will continue.

3.35pm: Sharad Yadav exhorts youth to build a new India, says the country cannot run with just rhetoric.

3.33pm: Sharad Yadav says he is hurt due to the fall of the GA government in Bihar, promises another one at the national level.

3:20pm: Sharad Yadav describes how the Grand Alliance was stitched in Bihar, says the mandate was for five years.

3.17pm: Sharad Yadav starts his speech.

3.10pm: This rally will help unite the opposition: Rahul Gandhi’s message.

3.08pm: Bihar Congress president reads out Rahul Gandhi’s message.

3:06pm: How many people got employment in three years? Time to decide which ideology the nation should follow: Sonia Gandhi in recorded message.

3.03pm: Sonia Gandhi’s recorded message being played at the rally.

2.40pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad starts speaking.

2.29pm: Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren addresses the rally.

1.50pm: CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy addresses the rally.

1.40pm: NCP leader Tariq Anwar addresses the gathering.

1.38pm: Tejashwi ends his speech. In his 25-minute speech, he targets Nitish Kumar and the BJP.

1.34pm: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee reaches venue.

1:20pm: Tejashwi Yadav calls Sharad Yadav his guardian, receives a huge round of applause.

1.07pm: Former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi starts speaking, says country is facing problems from all sides.

12.31pm: Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren joins rally. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has yet to arrive.

12.27pm: Congress representative Ghulam Nabi Azad reaches venue.

12.22pm: UP former CM Akhilesh Yadav reaches venue to a warm welcome by Lalu Prasad’s family.

12:12pm: Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar, both JD(U) MPs share stage with Prasad.

12:01pm: Rally starts. Former CM Rabri Devi, RJD MP Misa Bharti and CPI leader D Raja reaches venue. Prasad follows.

11.56am: Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav lands in Patna.

11:38am: Prasad’s son, Tejashwi, Tejashwi Yadav reaches rally venue. The former deputy CM says this is a historic rally.

11.35am: Lalu Prasad accompanied by his wife Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti drive towards Gandhi Maidan.

11:30 am: Huge build-up at Gandhi Maidan, people still walking in. Chaos on Patna streets

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