Nitish, Mulayam, Lalu Share Dais, Slam Modi
NEW DELHI: Pitching for larger Opposition unity, six constituents of the erstwhile Janata Parivar today shared dais at a "Mahadharna" slamming BJP'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 SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar called for "sinking old prejudices" and promised to "script a new story" in the Indian politics by ousting BJP.
Tariq Anwar and D P Tripathi from the NCP 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 JD (S), Dushyant Chautala of Indian National Lok Dal and SJP'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 Modi dispensation that they have got "only 31 percent 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.
Attacking the government on several issues, Lalu Prasad said, "an attempt is being made to persistently target Mamata Banerjee".
He said that while people talk about the differences between him and Nitish Kumar, "we have come together now".
Humming a Hindi film song, he said that it's time to forget things of the past and they will script a new chapter now.
Playing audio clips of previous speeches of Modi, the then BJP President Rajnath Singh and Baba Ramdev about bringing back black money, Kumar, Prasad, Sharad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav asked "what happened to the promise that Rs 15 lakh will reach the pockets of the poor once black money is brought back."
"You should ask every BJP leader whether they will give you the money in cash or cheque. It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister of the country is telling lies," Kumar said.
He asked Modi to "fulfil the promises that you had made. Otherwise, you will have to vacate the chair and go back."
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 Samajwadi Party rule in Uttar Pradesh urged them to come together to change the NDA 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 Jandhan 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.
Anticipating the appointment of Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Kumar the then Bihar Chief Minister had decided to walk out of the NDA alliance in June last year bringing to an end 17 year-old ties with the BJP soon after Modi was made his party's campaign committee Chairman.
BJP led by Modi decimated both JD(U) and RJD in Lok Sabha polls in Bihar necessitating the coming together of the old friend turned foes Prasad and Kumar.
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 percent.... 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 "Achce Din" (good days are coming) slogan used by Modi in election rallies, Lalu Prasad said that people were "misled" by the promises of Modi.
"I ask my son to tell Ramdev on Twitter to correct Modi's accounting on this. Baba had earlier said that 26.5 lakh crores are stashed in foreign banks. Now Modiji says he does not know how much black money is there. Modiji you should bring back blackmoney fast. Six months have already passed. Take five months more.
"When he contested the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, he said Gangaji has called him. You all know when Gangaji calls... We wish Modiji a long life," Yadav said.
Attacking Modi on the same issue, Kumar wondered whether Modi was talking about bringing back black money only to garner votes as he later said in the "Man Ki Baat" programme that nobody knows how much money was stashed in foreign banks as black money.
"Does this mean you were making false promises in the election. He talked about development but now people under him talk of pitching one section with another. Somebody utters Haramzada, somebody dubs Nathuram Godse a patriot. Somebody talks about ghar wapasi.
"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 last month where Mulayam Singh hosted a lunch for leaders of the other five parties, where the leaders asked him to finalize the modalities.
The leaders sought to paint Modi's earlier regime in Gujarat as "anti-farmer" and alleged that farmers' suicide in the state is frequent and there is water crisis.
"The trail of farmers' suicide continues. Even in Gujarat farmers are committing suicide," Nitish Kumar said.
Referring to former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad's remarks that in Bihar RJD, being a bigger party, will play the role of big brother in the alliance, Kumar said, "Raghuvansh ji is sitting here.
Some times he speaks out something. People do not want to listen such things."
Kumar also told the audience that as the Janata Parivar leaders are playing out the audio clips of Modi and other BJP leaders to point to their changing stand on various issues, the BJP is also getting ready with audio clips of how Lalu and Nitish attacked each other in Bihar in the past.
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, in his speech, said that time has now come that various groups of Janta family forget differences and come under one umbrella to create a viable alternative against the BJP.