Nitish Kumar, former Chief Minister of Bihar, accused Modi of “forgetting all promises” that he made during the Lok Sabha polls including about bringing back black money, giving 50 per cent more crop price to farmers than their production cost and giving employment to youth…
Pitching for larger Opposition unity, six constituents of the erstwhile Janata Parivar recently shared the dais in New Delhi at a mahadharna slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘divisive’ politics and accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of telling lies and not fulfilling poll promises on black money. Leaders of the splinter groups including the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and the Janata Dal-United’s Nitish Kumar called for “sinking old prejudices” and promised to “script a new story” in the Indian politics by ousting the BJP. Tariq Anwar and D P Tripathi from the Nationalist Congress Party also shared the dais while Mamata Banerjee sent a letter of support to the leaders through Derek ‘O’ Brien, who however did not turn up at the venue.
The agitation programme, which saw the attendance of former Prime Minister H D Devegowda of Janata Dal-Secular, Dushyant Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party-Rashtriya’s Kamal Morarka is being dubbed as the “first solid step” towards the merger of the parties. The leaders recalled that the Janata Parivar had formed three Governments in alliance in the past and reminded the Modi dispensation that they have got “only 31 per cent of votes” and will have to “go back” if they did not fulfil the promises. “From our identities as separate parties, we have to merge in a single party. An agreement has been reached on this. Mulayam Singh has to work out the modalities. Let us take a vow now… We should contact even others. Let us make a comprehensive Opposition. We should all come together. Setting aside our prejudices, we want to form a strong Opposition,” Kumar said.
In the earlier two meetings among leaders of these parties, the name of the new entity was proposed as ‘Samajwadi Janata Dal’ but no final decision either regarding the name or the flag of the entity has been taken, the sources said. At the agitation programme, leaders tried to reach out to the youth reminding them that the promised employment to them is yet to happen. Nitish Kumar said that the youth feel “most cheated” today. Mulayam Singh Yadav while crediting the youth for bringing SP rule in Uttar Pradesh urged them to come together to change the National Democratic Alliance dispensation at the Centre. Young voters are believed to have played a key role in the victory of Modi in the Lok Sabha polls.
Kumar accused Modi of “forgetting all promises” that he made during the Lok Sabha polls including about bringing back black money, giving 50 per cent more crop price to farmers than their production cost and giving employment to youth. “Today if somebody is feeling the most cheated it is the youth. When bank accounts of people under Jan Dhan Yojana were opened there was much publicity. Now it has come to fore that there is no money transaction in 5 crore of the total 8 crore accounts under the scheme and there will be no accident benefit. Even if you did not give Rs 15 lakh each, you could have at least deposited Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 in their accounts so that they would have availed this benefit,” Kumar said taking a jibe at Modi as he sought to contrast the statements made by the Prime Minister before the Lok Sabha polls and after the BJP came to power at the Centre.
Sources said that while the grand merger of the former constituents could take time, the beginning would be made with the merger of Prasad’s RJD and Kumar’s JD-U, the process for which will kick-start soon after as assembly elections in Bihar are schedueld next year. JD-U President Sharad Yadav, a prime mover behind the unity moves, attacked the NDA Government for “drifting” from its poll plank of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. “You have not got the mandate for this Kamandal Baba, Chimta Baba and Balti Baba. You had not sought votes for them. If you think that everybody should adopt the same religion. Seek a fresh mandate on it in elections,” Yadav said.
The JD-U president also took strong objection to the recent controversial remarks by some BJP leaders. “How much votes you have got? 31 per cent…. You have won just one election. We formed Government thrice. Congress was in power for around 60 years. None of us did all this. Fulfil your promises or leave the chair. Do you mean that you will bring development when entire India becomes Hindu…You have talked of serving the nation during the election campaign. Do you now again want blood to spill in the country in the name of religion. Modiji tell us how will development happen with this violence,” Sharad Yadav said calling for a sustained fight against communalism.
Mimicking achche din aayenge (good days are coming) slogan used by Modi in election rallies, Lalu Prasad said that people were misled by the promises of Modi.
“Leaflets are published about offering money to change religion. All this is being done because they are unable to solve the problems of people and hence trying to divert attention from real issues,” Kumar said. Taking the argument further, Lalu Prasad alleged that they are doing these things and raising the ‘Muslim’ issue because they have ‘failed’ on all fronts. He also ridiculed the Modi-Modi chant and Har Har Modi, Ghar ghar Modi slogans of the BJP during the Lok Sabha election campaign. Impressing upon the need for unity among the Janata party splinter groups, he said the new entity will “not have separate flags like separate sticks of pandas” from Kaashi.
Asking the party workers to be ready to fight, Mulayam said that the united fight “will not remain confined to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We will also fight in Delhi…We have come united to help the farmers, the poor.” The unity move of these splinter groups, under wraps for months, was made public in November where Mulayam Singh hosted a lunch for leaders of the other five parties, where the leaders asked him to finalise the modalities.