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Lalu slams Paswan

Darbhanga, March 21: Former chief minister and RJD president Lalu Prasad was at his humorous best as he addressed a crowd of over 20,000 at Raj Maidan here on Friday.

In his trademark fashion, Lalu taunted LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan, saying: “Paswan hadbada kar gadbada gaye (Paswan took a wrong step in a hurry). BJP is not a party. It is at the core of the Sangh Parivar and the RJD is the JCB machine (earthmover) that would root out other parties.” He also said the RJD liberated the under-privileged sections of society who had been suppressed for long by regimes before his.

Lalu was campaigning for RJD candidate from Darbhanga, MAA Fatmi, who has thrice won on an RJD ticket from here. Darbhanga goes to the polls on April 30.

Lalu sounded confident as he told the rally they had backed the RJD here many times in the past and would do so again.

Attacking the BJP, Lalu said: “We want to save people from the communal forces out to divide you. We are looking at the threat from communal forces spreading hatred among our people to capture Delhi. We are not weak at all. We can confine such forces with your support. We are ready to sacrifice the throne to check such communal forces.”

Lalu also criticised chief minister Nitish Kumar for appointing teachers, anganvadi sevikas and doctors etc on contract. He said he had appointed permanent teachers during his tenure as chief minister and those were more efficient than the contract appointees. He also alleged that corruption was rampant under Nitish as government officials take bribe for services.

Raj Kumar Ganeshan, who attended the rally, said: “There were ten times more people at Lalu’s rally than at Nitish Kumar’s Sankalp Rally sometime ago. Also, Lalu appeared to be in a cheerful mood.”

Sanjiv Mishra, another person from the audience, said: “Darbhanga remains an RJD stronghold while other forces of society have united against it. But now, even these forces appear divided and Lalu’s supporters are enthusiastic, as apparent from the crowd here.”

Fatmi is pitted against Kirti Azad of the BJP, Sanjay Jha of the JD(U) and Dr Prabhat Das of the Aam Aadmi Party. Azad is the sitting Lok Sabha MP while Jha and Das — a US-based doctor — are first-time candidates. The US-based doctors runs an NGO, Dr Prabhat Das Foundation, which has been working at the grassroots level for the past seven years.