| Rally for change: The RJD posters put up near Gandhi Maidan. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Quirky posters and banter banners projecting Lalu Prasad and his sons as the “saviours” of the state have “adorned” the city before the RJD’s Parivartan Rally.
The varying posters and banners seem to have been designed with twin purposes. First, to project Lalu as the guiding force of the state and his sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi as the party’s future leaders. Second, to highlight the alleged failure of the state government to promote education and its boost to liquor trade.
A poster at Gandhi Maidan shows Lalu riding a chariot like Lord Krishna and in place of Arjun, people are staring at him with hope. It seems it has been designed to project the RJD chief as the guiding force of the state.
Cut to Frazer Road, where a poster features Lalu’s sons. An 80-year-old woman is shown praying to the duo with folded hands. “Hey Tej Pratap, Tejaswi, parivartan lao, Bihar bachao (Oh Tej Pratap and Tejaswi! Bring change and save Bihar),” she murmurs in the poster.
Tej and Tejaswi are taking active part in preparations for the rally.
The Lalu family apart, the brains behind the party’s banners focused on highlighting chief minister Nitish Kumar’s alleged failure in improving the education scenario and his government’s move to open a large number of liquor shops.
Slogans like “Plate nahi, slate chahiye (not plate, we want slate)”, “Madhushala nahi, pathshala chahiye (not liquor den, we need school)” are the catch lines of some banners and posters.
The RJD general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Kripal Yadav, said: “More than 5,000 primary schools were opened in Bihar during the Lalu-Rabri regime and it was Laluji’s initiative to start Charwaha (cattle grazers) Vidyalayas in rural areas.”
The Charwaha Vidyalayas were abolished later.
“To draw children to schools, Lalu offered an incentive of Re 1 to every child on a daily basis. Children carrying slates used to go to schools to study then. Now, instead of slates they carry plates to schools for meals,” he said.
Similarly, the party tried to highlight the alleged three-fold increase in the number of liquor shops in Nitish’s tenure in the run-up to the rally. A poster near Gandhi Maidan reads: “Madhushala nahi, pathshala chahiye.”
Yadav said: “During the RJD regime, the number of liquor shops in Bihar was around 2,200-2,500. The number has gone up three-fold now.”
Wondering if the RJD has taken permission of the civic body for putting up the banners? Well, it has for some and not for many.
Patna Municipal Corporation mayor Afzal Imam said: “The RJD has taken approval for putting up banners and posters in some areas. But many have been put up in city without the civic body’s approval.”
He said workers put up banners and posters out of enthusiasm during such rallies and the civic body sends notice to the political parties about the dues after the events are over.