| Lalu Prasad addresses a poll meeting in Bhagalpur on Monday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Bhagalpur, Aug. 18: RJD president Lalu Prasad today counter-attacked BJP, a day after Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised him at a poll meeting here on Sunday.
Addressing an election rally at Lajpath Park ground here, he said: “Why does the BJP have a headache over unification of two brothers — Lalu and Nitish? Nitish is my younger brother and it is at my discretion whether to put him on my lap or on my shoulder. Who the hell is the BJP to comment on our affair?”
He said: “The BJP faces a threat after unification of secular forces in Bihar, because it would now be very hard for them to spread communalism here.” The RJD, he said, still has a presence in Bihar as it secured over 1.7 crore votes in the Lok Sabha polls. And it was unfortunate that a person like Narendra Modi captured New Delhi by securing just 31 per cent votes, while over 69 per cent of voters, who still believe in secularism, voted against the BJP. “Who the hell are Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? Are they freedom fighters? Did they participate in the freedom movement,” he asked.
Also with Lalu at the rally were state agriculture minister Narendar Singh, Kishanganj’s Congress MP Asrarul Haque, Bhagalpur’s RJD MP Bulo Mandal, former Assembly speaker and Kahalgaon’s Congress MLA Sadanand Singh and half a dozen JDU MLAs. They all attacked the BJP, Modi and state BJP leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Ashwini Choubey and Nand Kishore Yadav during the rally to campaign for Congress candidate Ajit Sharma.
Lalu attacked LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, saying: “I have never seen a weather scientist (who changed sides with the weather) like Paswan.”
He appreciated Bhagalpur voters for having rejected the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. He also addressed those who voted Modi. “Despite my warning, you showed sympathy for BJP. The result is before you. You have to buy potatoes at Rs 30 a kg and tomatoes at Rs 90 a kg. Did you have to pay more than Rs 2 a kg for potatoes during Lalu raj,” he said.
Earlier, Narendra Singh called Lalu an old friend and justified his joining hands with Nitish. “We are all products of the 1974 JP movement. But, some of us drifted apart. But, now the time has come to counter the BJP and we are united,” he said. He said Modi represents capitalists and he feared the poor would not get justice under him.
Asrarul Haque urged people to vote for secular values. Nearly 50,000 people had gathered. When a section of the crowd broke the barricade, Lalu interrupted his campaign speech to scold them.