Lalu, Nitish come together after 20 years, ask Maya, Mulayam to join hands
PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Nitish
Kumar on Monday came together at an election rally for the first time in two
decades, with the former asking Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav to join hands
in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP.
Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar hugged each other at the
rally ahead of a by-election in Hajipur assembly constituency in Bihar’s
Vaishali district. It is one of 10 seats which will see by-elections. The
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had parted ways in
Lalu Prasad appealed to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam
Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati to team up to defeat
the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.
“I appeal to both Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav to
come together like we have come together to defeat the BJP,” Lalu told the
crowd. The BSP was wiped out in the Lok Sabha battle while the Samajwadi Party
won just five seats.
Lalu Prasad said he and Nitish Kumar wanted to send a
strong message across the country to unite non-BJP forces. “It is a new
beginning ... to ensure the formation of a strong alliance of like-minded
people against the BJP,” he said.
Lalu Prasad accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of
betraying the people by not fulfilling the election promise. “We have joined
hands in view of the dangerous designs of the BJP,” he said.
Nitish Kumar, who quit as Bihar’s chief minister in
May after his party was routed in the general election, also targeted Modi,
saying that people were still waiting for the promised ‘achche din’ (good
days). The JD-U won only two of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats - as against 20
seats in 2009 when it had allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party. It parted
ways with the BJP last year, ending a 17-year alliance.
Hundreds of RJD and JD-U supporters gathered at an
open ground near Hajipur, about 30 km from Patna, since morning to witness the
coming together of the leaders who have both served as Bihar chief minister.
State RJD president Ram Chandra Purve said both
leaders will campaign together again Aug 17 at Narkatiyaganj, Mohania and
Chapra assembly constituencies. It was in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls that Lalu
Prasad and Nitish Kumar had last campaigned together.
The ruling JD-U’s new allies, RJD and Congress, are
contesting the by-polls together in a bid to defeat the BJP. Their alliance was
announced July 30 and their leaders said the move was necessary to strengthen