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Jolt to Lalu parallel rally wish

- BJP gets land for Modi meeting in Muzaffarpur

Patna, Feb. 11: The challenge of the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, of holding a parallel rally in Muzaffarpur on March 3 appears to have died down.

The Muzaffarpur district administration has allotted fields adjacent to Muzaffarpur Institute of Technology and police lines, and the adjoining Awasiya field to the BJP for the March 3 rally, leaving no space for the RJD to hold a meeting in the town the same day. The administration said the fields were allotted to the BJP on the “first come, first served” basis. The BJP had applied for allocation of these fields on February 8. The RJD had applied on February 11.

After the BJP was allotted the sites, RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav said the party would hold a meeting to decide its future strategy.

Earlier, Lalu had stressed that his rally in Muzaffarpur would be held, provided his party was allotted space by the Muzaffarpur administration. “It remains to be seen if Nitish Kumar allots the land to Narendra Modi or me,” he had said.

The Muzaffarpur administration is unlikely to give permission to the RJD to hold a public meeting to be addressed by Lalu because there would be too much strain on its security forces on March 3 because of Modi’s rally. “Giving consent to Lalu Prasad to address a public meeting on the same day in the city might create law and order problems,” said an official.

The RJD today claimed that it had convened a workers’ meet for holding Lalu’s rally and the party’s state president, Ram Chandra Purbey, had proceeded to Muzaffarpur for holding a meeting of the party workers there. The party leaders claimed that the meeting was aimed at stopping Modi from capturing power in Delhi.

In private, many RJD leaders admitted that the Muzaffarpur district administration would not grant their party permission to host a rally on March 3. “The plan was to embarrass the Nitish government,” said a senior leader.

On a day the BJP was granted permission to hold rally in Muzaffarpur, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi ridiculed both Lalu and chief minister Nitish Kumar and invited both to address public meetings in Muzaffarpur on March 3.

“Lalu Prasad has the habit of keeping himself in news by making statements. The estimated crowd to come to listen to Narendra Modi in Muzaffarpur is around 2.5 lakh. Around 5,000 of them might stop to listen to Lalu while returning from the BJP rally. Everybody has the right to hold meeting at any place or any time. But the BJP had applied for the fields in Muzaffarpur first. I want Lalu and chief minister Nitish Kumar to hold meetings in Muzaffarpur the same day. Both would realise their political stature then,” he said.