A well-attended rally held recently in the Capital was a show of strength against what the Janata Parivar leaders called the “divisive NDA Government that cheated the nation by making false promises”. All the leaders occupying the stage were once part of the historic JP movement of the 70s. The mass socialist leader was being invoked again by the leaders of the Janata Parivar to fight Modi and the BJP…
The tone was predictable, so was the content. When they spoke, the senior leaders of the Janata Parivar, did not stray much from the expected script at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi recently. They were all fire and brimstone against old foe Narendra Modi, adding new ammunition to the old grouse. The well-attended rally was a show of strength against what the leaders called the “divisive NDA Government that cheated the nation by making false promises”. All the leaders occupying the stage were once part of the historic JP movement of the 70s. The mass socialist leader was being invoked again by the leaders of the Janata Parivar to fight Modi and the BJP.
The leaders struggling against redundancy in the face of the BJP wave in their strongholds mixed ridicule and hard facts in their speeches to take on the NDA Government and its mascot. RJD leader Lalu Yadav, entertaining and engaging as ever, was the show-stealer. While he questioned Modi’s promise of achche din, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav wanted to know what happened to the slogan sabke saath, saabke vishwas. Mulayam charged Modi with telling lies.
Besides the rhetorical speeches, the day belonged to the humble Nehru topi (cap), resuscitated to life in mainstream politics by the Aam Aadmi Party. A majority of the crowd could be seen wearing the cap in Samajwadi Party’s red colour, with slogans written across. There were yellow caps as well. A few die-hard followers of the SP could be seen wrapped up in SP flags and some even had painted their faces with the party colour. “I’ve come from Unnao to participate in this rally and I’m sure this new party under Netaji’s (Mulayam Singh) leadership will be able to take on the BJP, which is trying to create communal tension,” said Munnalal Yadav. He was holding a placard with a slogan ‘Jhoote se nahi, kaam se chalega desh’ (Country can run by work, and not by making false promises).
“In his poll rallies in Bihar, Narendra Modi made promises and simultaneously ridiculed Nitish Kumar. But, now we can see there’s no initiative towards fulfillment of those promises. If this new alignment stays united, it may change the political scenario in a year or two. We mustn’t forget that it was the JP movement, which ultimately led to the formation of Janata Party, that threw Indira Gandhi-led Congress out of power,” remarked Shiv Prasad Sinha, a school teacher and active supporter of JD(U) from Gaya. However, there were many spectators in the rally who differed as well.
“These leaders have ruled their States for 10 years or more; but they are not talking about the ‘achche din’ (good days) they provided to the people. We all know how Lalu Prasad, the original king of political scam (fodder scam) rendered Bihar as the most backward State in India. Now they want Modi to fulfill all his promises in just six months. How absurd it is,” said Shashank, who identified himself as an entrepreneur.
However, the Janata Parivar is not concerned with the response of the crowd at this point. This they say is a secondary consideration. “Our aim was to bring back all the factions of the previous Janata Dal together and form a party that would raise voice against anti-people policies. The new alignment has around 40 MPs from different factions, and it would help us question the BJP in Parliament and outside on their failure to keep the electoral promises they made,” Rajya Sabha member and JD(U) spokesperson, KC Tyagi told Firstpost.
“Now, the alliance won’t fight only for social justice and equity as in the past; instead the focus would be on economic issues and policies of the Centre that would have an adverse impact on the masses. The movement has to be in a new form,” he said.
After the show of strength at Jantar Mantar, is any like-minded party expected to join the group? “It’s the former Janata Dal offshoots that have made effort to join hands. Let us see how things develop and whether they come up with any comprehensive economic programme. Right now, the Left is working on its own programme, but we’re open to new developments. Let’s see,” said Communist Party of India leader D Raja.
A CPM politburo member called the move a “very positive development”. “It’ll be a platform that will bring all secular and non-communal forces together, and can create an impact in Hindi-speaking belt against the BJP and the Congress. We’ll keep options open for any such alignment that addresses economic issues and speaks against neo-liberalism and communalism,” the member said.