Patna | Coming together for the first time ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, top leaders of the ‘grand secular alliance’ including Congress president Sonia Gandhi today claimed victory on the vexed land bill as they tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi over unfulfilled promises’ and insult to Bihari pride.
On a day when faced with stiff resistance, Modi announced that the government will not re-promulgate the controversial land acquisition ordinance that expires tomorrow, the secular alliance leaders claimed their endeavour saw the government bow down to pressure.
Modi’s DNA barb against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also came in for sharp criticism with the leaders mounting a blistering attack on him, contending it denigrated the legacy of the state. Sonia, who had shown rare aggression during the washed out monsoon session of Parliment, alleged the Modi government did not do anything except show baazi despite having completed one-fourth of its tenure.
Putting behind their past rancour, Sonia, Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad also praised each other as they readied to take on the BJP-led NDA in the state polls that are likely to see a keen electoral contest. This is an anti-farmer government. They want to grab their land and distribute it among their rich friends.
We fought for the protection of farmers’ rights in the Parliament and in the end government had to bow down, Sonia asserted. Today when ‘Swambhiman rally’ is being organised in Patna, the PM was forced to bend and retreat his steps on land acquisition Bill, said Kumar. Keen to exploit the emotive ‘DNA’ issue during the elections to invoke Bihari pride, Sonia said,Some people take pleasure in mocking Bihar.
Whenever they get opportunity they comment about its DNA and culture. They also call it BIMARU (laggard). Demanding that Modi take back his DNA remark, Kumar said, This is the place from where Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and Aryabhatta came… My DNA is the same DNA. Speaking at a BJP rally in Muzaffarpur some time ago, Modi had said, There seems to be some problem with his (Kumar’s) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that.
In democracy you respect even your political rivals. The remark had provoked anger from Kumar, whose party JD(U) launched a ‘Sabdhwapsi’ (take back your words) campaign against Modi.
Taking on Modi over his frequent references to the return of ‘jungle raj’, an epithet used by the detractors of the Lalu-Rabri dispensation to describe alleged misgovernance under them, the RJD chief said the JD(U)-RJD-Cong-SP coalition will usher in ‘Mangal Raaj Part-2′.
Though Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who brokered peace between Lalu and Kumar, did not attend, he was represented by his younger brother and Uttar Pradesh Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav at the rally. Lalu alleged BJP wanted to create Hindu-Muslim tension, saying I know their design.
Modi called us Jungle-Raaj Part-2 but this is Mangal Raaj Part-2. Muslims, for several years, constituted a solid support base of Lalu but a section of the community had later shifted to Kumar. With the two leaders coming together, Muslims are expected to plump for the secular alliance en bloc. Bihar, which has seen long years of OBC-dominated politics, appeared set to witness a fresh bout of pro and anti-Mandal politics, with Lalu noting I and Nitish Kumar are two sons of backward castes.
After Lalu it is Nitish Kumar. BJP has been hardselling Modi’s extremely backward caste origin. You had promised to provide one crore jobs to youth every year…forget about new jobs you have put a stop on the existing ones, Sonia said, asking the electorate not to fall into the trap of tall promises. About farmers, she said Narendra Modi had promised to enhance Minimum Support Price (MSP) one-and-a-half times but acted just the opposite and is trying to snatch land from farmers to distribute them among a few rich friends.
Kumar also trashed Modi’s warnings about a return of the rule of the jungle and said no jungle raj is coming, its only that poor and the deprived have awakened to their rights which BJP is calling jungle raj. The bonhomie was on display as Kumar addressed Lalu as Bade Bhai. Describing Narendra Modi government as ‘anti-farmer and anti-youth’ at the ‘Swabhiman Rally’ here, Sonia said that in 14 months tenure of its term which is one-fourth of the total duration of five years, the Union government has virtually acted opposite to what it had promised during election.
You had promised to provide one crore jobs to youth every year…forget about new jobs you have put a stop on the existing ones, she said. About farmers, she said Narendra Modi had promised to enhance Minimum Support Price (MSP) by one-and-a-half times but acted just the opposite and is trying to snatch land from farmers to distribute them among a few rich friends.
As per seat-sharing arrangements, JD(U) is contesting 100 seats of the 243-member assembly, RJD 98, Congress 40 and Samajwadi Party 5. NCP of Sharad Pawar had walked out of the combination after it was offered a paltry quota of three seats, which were later allotted to the SP. Lalu too gave away two seats of the 100 in his quota to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party.
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