The Telegraph
Friday , February 7 , 2014
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Lalu’s unity pitch to keep Modi at bay

Ranchi, Feb. 6: Rahul Gandhi tomorrow. Lalu Prasad today. Time for JMM to get the jitters.

A lot is expected to happen in Jharkhand’s political scene over the next few days with the visit of the two heavyweights from Congress and RJD, both coalition partners in the Hemant Soren-led government.

Though neither Congress nor RJD officially confirmed whether Rahul and Lalu would meet during their stay in Jharkhand, the RJD chief welcomed the young leader’s state tour. He said that the Congress and RJD, along with other like-minded secular forces, would teach a lesson to the BJP in the coming general election.

“I have come to Jharkhand to speak to my advocates. I will have to appear before a CBI court tomorrow. During my stay here, I will be taking stock of our party’s preparation for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. We will soon hold a huge rally in Ranchi,” said Lalu while speaking to mediapersons at the state guesthouse.

Ridiculing the idea of a Third Front in national politics, the veteran leader, who is out on bail in a fodder scam case, cheekily remarked: “The Third Front will always remain the insignificant third. Here the main fight is between the Congress backed by secular forces and the communal BJP.”

Throwing an open challenge to Narendra Modi, Lalu said that the youth would be the worst sufferer if the Gujarat chief minister became the Prime Minister. “We will be doing everything possible to stall his mission,” he added.

Lalu, however, was evasive when asked whether he had mounted pressure on JMM and Congress to ensure that party nominee Prem Chand Gupta made it to the Rajya Sabha. He only said that a secular government in Jharkhand was doing its job.

The RJD chief’s arrival has naturally cheered up party leaders and members, who are unhappy with the way Hemant is running the state.

“We don’t want to generate unnecessary controversies through our public statements. But, this government has to fulfil the aspirations of commoners,” said RJD state president Girinath Singh.

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