Lalu’s dilemma: To be or not to be beside Mamata Banerjee

The RJD supremo has been invited by Trinamool Congress to participate in a demonstration protest in Patna next week.

Published: 27th November 2016 06:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2016 06:06 PM   |  A+A-

Lalu Prasad Yadav1PTI

RJP Supremeo Lalu Prasad Yadav. | PTI

Express News Service

PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has been intensely vocal against the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move, has been invited by Trinamool Congress to participate in a demonstration protest, convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Patna on Wednesday. But Yadav is yet to decide whether to attend it or not.

As Banerjee, who is also the chief of west Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, has been trying hard to forge an alliance of some 19 parties on the basis of their opposition to the denomination exercise. Trinamool vice-president Mukul Roy personally invited Yadav by meeting him at the latter’s 10, Circular Road residence in Patna on Friday.

While RJD sources said Yadav accepted the invitation and promised to be seen beside Banerjee at the demonstration venue, it seemed on Sunday that the RJD chief is having second thoughts.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar’s open support to the demonetisation move and the party’s official statement on Saturday that its stand on the issue would remain unchanged is said to be behind Yadav’s crisis. RJD is JD(U)’s partner, along with Congress, in the three-party mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government in Bihar.

“Even if he (Yadav) ultimately refrains from attending Mamata Banerjee’s demonstration, he may send one of his family members who are all well-known RJD leaders,” said an RJD leader close to the Yadav family.

In that case, Yadav may depute one or both of his sons – deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav and health minister Tej Pratap Yadav – or even his wife, former chief minister and current MLC Rabri Devi, to participate in the demonstration with Mamata Banerjee, said RJD sources.

“With speculation currently on a high about the difference of opinion in the alliance over demonetisation, the RJD chief’s personal appearance alongside Mamata Banerjee could be politically harmful both for the state government and the party. He (Lalu Prasad Yadav) is yet to take a final decision on his participation,” said the RJD leader.

When Nitish Kumar was asked by journalists about Mukul Roy’s meeting with Yadav, the Bihar CM sidestepped the question, saying every party has the right to do what it wants.

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