Lalu, BJP critics skip event

RJD chief says he did notget invite to PU function

By Dipak Mishra in Patna
  • Published 15.10.17

Patna, Oct. 14: RJD chief Lalu Prasad and dissident BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha - all Patna University alumni - stayed away from the centenary celebrations of the varsity, reducing political participation to largely an NDA show.

"There have been students like Lalu Prasad too," said Sushil Modi in his speech. Lalu was president of the Patna University Students Union (Pusu) during the JP movement. Sushil was then its secretary. Seven people on the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi - including chief minister Nitish Kumar- were alumni of the century-old university.

Lalu and his family were in Delhi for over a week after the CBI quizzed him. Arriving in Patna in the evening, he said he had not received any invitation. "Even if I had received an invitation, I would not have gone to sit with them," he said, charging Prime Minister Modi and Nitish of fooling the people of Bihar. "There are no teachers in the universities. There are no gurus, and they are talking about making India Vishwaguru," Lalu said.

His close associate and MLA Bhola Yadav had earlier indicated Lalu had not received any invitation, but Patna University vice-chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh said on Friday that invitation cards were dispatched "after we received them from the printing press on Thursday".

After today's function, Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav tweeted: "Today, Bihar's backstabber CM begged in front of his new almighty to provide many things as face saver to console angry people of Bihar after dacoity of mandate but PM outrightly rejected all demands of him. I felt bad for Nitish Chacha."

Yashwant Sinha confirmed he was invited. "I received an e-mail from PU on Friday afternoon, when I was in Hazaribagh, asking me to come to Patna to attend the function," Yashwant told The Telegraph from Delhi. "It was not possible to go at such a short notice. I knew such a controversy would arise, so have not deleted the e-mail. Even Shatrughan Sinha received the invitation by e-mail." On Prime Minister Modi's refusal to accord central varsity status to PU, Yashwant said: "The entire programme of inviting the Prime Minister to the centenary function has backfired. If other universities can be given central university status, why can't PU be given the same?"

Shatrughan Sinha, who was angry at not being allowed on the dais despite being the local MP, sharpened his attack on Modi from New Delhi. On Friday, he had defined the goods and services tax (GST) in Bhojpuri as " gayeel sarkar tohar (Your Government is going)". Today, he dubbed the centenary programme as a "no show". The BJP was not surprised at his absence. "Shatrughan has made it clear he was not interested in continuing with the BJP under Narendra Modi," a BJP leader said. "The Prime Minister has also made it clear there is no space for people like him in the BJP."

CM spots Ashok

Chief minister Nitish Kumar spotted former Congress state unit president Ashok Coudhary at the function and joked he could be expelled for attending the function. Choudhary was removed as state Congress chief last month following allegations he was trying to engineer a split in the party.