Senior leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties came together in Patna on Sunday to urge people to unite and throw out the NDA governments at the Centre and the states.
They also released a “chargesheet of the (Opposition) Grand Alliance” against the Nitish Kumar government’s performance.
“While people are struggling for bread and butter, the BJP and RSS are dividing them and making them fight over religion. We need a revolution to save the country and the Constitution, and the people will have to come together for it,” CPI general secretary D. Raja said at the meeting, held in an auditorium.
The occasion was the anniversary of “Total Revolution Day” — the day in 1974 when socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan had called for a “total revolution” to overthrow the then Congress governments at the Centre and in the states to bring about socio-economic and political changes.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is with the capitalists instead of being with the farmers, workers, labourers and the people of Bihar,” Raja said.
He said Modi’s neoliberal policies were worsening the rich-poor divide, unemployment, hunger and poverty, causing India to fall behind Bangladesh and other developing countries on various socio-economic indicators.
Raja said Bihar was blighted by poverty, unemployment, corruption and migration but there was hope as the RJD and the Left were fighting together.
“We want this replicated at the national level. All regional parties in the country should take a lesson from RJD leader (and leader of the Opposition) Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and unite to defeat the BJP-RSS. All sections of society should be brought together in this fight,” Raja said.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who could not attend the event because of poor health, sent a short video message.
“We all need to fight together. We shall not step back. We will fight with full strength to defeat the BJP and the RSS. Even Jayaprakash Narayan’s fight was against dictatorial forces,” Lalu said.
CPIML Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said the communist and socialist parties had fought separately in 1974 when the call for “Total Revolution” was sounded, and the government had repressed both by force.
“The Emergency of 1975 was over after some time, but today we are facing an undeclared emergency that seems to be continuing permanently. Central agencies like the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and others are being used to suppress the people and the Constitution,” Bhattacharya said.
He added: “Alliances should not be formed just for elections but for everything that affects the people, society and the country.”
The Congress, the second-largest partner in the Opposition alliance in Bihar, kept away from the event saying it had not been invited.
The RJD posters for the meeting did not carry images of any Congress leader.
Sources said the Congress was furious with the RJD for unilaterally announcing candidates for all the three legislative council seats the alliance can win in an upcoming election, instead of giving one seat to it.
Lalu Prasad’s eldest son and Hasanpur MLA Tej Pratap Yadav too skipped the meeting. He is said to be sulking ever since Lalu Prasad announced earlier this week that younger son Tejashwi would decide the party’s policies.
At the meeting, Tejashwi said the BJP had injected so much poison into society that it would be difficult to remove anytime soon even if the secular forces came to power.
“If anyone raises a voice against it (the BJP), it sends the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, income-tax department and other such agencies after him. I was in London and they sent the CBI to conduct a raid on my father Lalu Prasad. But such things will never cow him down,” he said.
“We need to rise above caste, community and inequality to unite and fight not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of the state and the country. Nobody will be able to stop us then, nor will the BJP-RSS be able to vitiate the atmosphere in the country.”
He added: “The BJP is today sowing a fear of Muslims. Tomorrow it will be the poor, the backward, the Dalits.”
CPM politburo member Ashok Dhawle stressed the “need for an agitation starting from Bihar and spreading across the country to overthrow the Modi government”.
He called Nitish an opportunist who had forgotten his socialist roots.
The “chargesheet” shows how Bihar figures at the bottom in per capita income, human and gender development, gender equality, farmers’ condition, poverty, health, education, corruption and public welfare schemes. It says that prohibition has been a total failure in the state.