New Delhi: Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) rally in Patna on Sunday saw Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav in attendance, but the top leaders of the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party stayed away from the intended opposition unity platform.
The rally “BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao" (Drive out BJP, Save the Nation) in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan called by the RJD chief saw West Bengal chief minister Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav and rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav share the dais. Senior Congress leaders at the rally included Ghulam Nabi Azad and C.P. Joshi.
ALSO READ: JDU to seek Sharad Yadav’s disqualification from Rajya Sabha
“The country is going through a difficult phase. Instead of the constitution, it is the wishes of two people that are being fulfilled. They want to finish the opposition by scaring them away," Prasad told the rally. “What is the situation in the country today? The youth who want jobs are now being shown the dream of 2022 instead of two crore jobs…"
Launching an attack against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Prasad said: “Nitish Kumar has no ideology or principle. We let him become chief minister even though RJD won more seats in the election. He has betrayed the people of Bihar. No party can trust Kumar now."
The state of Bihar saw a change of political guard after Kumar resigned from the government led by the grand alliance which included the RJD and Congress to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Communist Party of India general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy and secretary D. Raja along with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Nationalist Congress Party leader and MP Tariq Anwar were also present.
Also present were Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi, sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap Yadav, and daughter Misa Bharti, who is a member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi sent messages of support to the rally.
“This rally is being organised at a time when there are attempts to mould the society. The people’s verdict was denied in Bihar. This rally is a fight against a government which only thinks about their party. The opposition is united in the fight for the common people," Sonia Gandhi said in an audio message.
In the past few months, Prasad and members of his family have faced investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax department over various corruption allegations. The rally was organized in an attempt to unite the opposition in preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
PTI contributed to this story.