PATNA: In an apparent bid to prevent his traditional support base of Muslims in Bihar from slipping away, jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday strongly protested against the abolition of Haj subsidy and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “hatred for the Muslim community”.
Yadav, whose 15-year rule in Bihar had earned him epithets such as “champion of secularism” and “messiah of Muslims,” described abolition of Haj subsidy as a “sad decision” and demanded that the Centre roll it back immediately.
“BJP and Narendra Modi are filled with hatred for the Muslim community. One does not know why exactly they harbor such hatred for Muslims,” Yadav told journalists during his brief outing from Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail for appearance at a CBI special court in a fodder scam case.
“This (ending Haj subsidy) is a serious issue. Narendra Modi is so full of arrogance that he has now stopped people from going to meet their God. This is a sad decision. It should be rolled back immediately,” added Yadav, who is currently serving a jail term after being convicted in a fodder scam case on December 23 last.
The ruling JD(U) and BJP jeered at Yadav for his demand for a rollback. “He (Yadav) is yet to realise that the days of appeasement politics are gone. He lives in a fool’s paradise and believes he can retain his minority support base with such demands when the Muslims themselves have supported the decision to end Haj subsidy,” said BJP spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel.
“Muslims in Bihar have realised that Lalu Yadav used them merely as a vote bank for staying in power and amassing property for his own family. Yadav’s reign hardly improved the living condition of the minority community,” said JD(U) MLC and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
Yadav, who ruled in Bihar from 1990 to 2005 largely due to the sturdy support of Yadavs and Muslims, also questioned VHP international working president Pravin Togadia’s claim about an attempt for his assassination.
“Togadia has Z-category security. I read in newspapers that he was found unconscious. Where had he gone in the night leaving his security personnel behind?” asked Yadav.