INDIA bloc leaders sound poll bugle, give ‘oust BJP’ call in Bihar rally | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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INDIA bloc leaders sound poll bugle, give ‘oust BJP’ call in Bihar rally

Mar 03, 2024 10:34 PM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed Bihar the political nerve center of the country, and said whenever there was a transformation, it began from Bihar

The leaders of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, sounded the poll bugle when they gave a clarion “Desh Bachao, BJP Hatao” call to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party from power in the ensuing 2024 Lok Sabha elections at the Jan Vishwas maha rally of the Grand Alliance (GA) at the Gandhi Maidan in Bihar’s capital Patna on Sunday.

INDIA bloc leaders join hands during the RJD's 'Jan Vishwas Maha Rally' at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday. (ANI)
INDIA bloc leaders join hands during the RJD's 'Jan Vishwas Maha Rally' at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday. (ANI)

Terming Bihar the political nerve centre of the country, Gandhi, who had flown in from Madhya Pradesh, taking a break from his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, said whenever there was a transformation in the country, it began from Bihar and then reached the rest of the country.

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He said there was an ideological war going on in the country. Referring to the BJP, Gandhi said, “One party is trying to create hatred, but we are offering ‘nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat’ (love amidst hatred).”

“There is hatred, violence and arrogance on one side and on the other side, there is love, respect and brotherhood... The INDIA Alliance can be understood in one sentence, “Nafrat ke Bazaar mein Mohabbat ki Dukan...,” he said.

He said the biggest reason for hatred was injustice. “There was economic and social injustice... Even the Agniveer scheme was against the youths of the country,” he said.

“The Agniveers were not eligible for pension, canteen facility and didn’t even get proper training. Yet, with just six months of training, they were pitted against the well-trained Chinese soldiers... One can imagine what will happen to them,” said Gandhi.

The former Congress president accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of “working for only two-three super-rich people and neglecting Dalits and backward classes who comprise 73 per cent of the population”.

Lambasting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for his recent volte-face, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Those who are not strong ideologically, cannot fight (the BJP) and you (Tejashwi Yadav) should not take him in the party if he returns again...”.

Lauding Tejashwi Yadav for ensuring that jobs were created on a large scale during the 17-month-period he occupied the deputy CM’s post, Kharge said, “Your chacha (referring to Nitish Kumar) has done a flip-flop. He may do so again. But do not accept him henceforth.” Notably, Kumar, who heads the JD(U), had allied with RJD-Congress and Left combine in August 2022, snapping ties with the BJP which he accused of trying to engineer a split in his own party.

Recalling Kumar’s first volte face in 2017, RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav said, “I had not hurled any abuses at Nitish Kumar back then, only called him ‘palturam’ (turncoat). The label has stuck to his persona by virtue of his own deeds. I can see funny videos about him on social media and wonder whether these do not drive him to shame.”

Prasad said Kumar would get a “dhakka (shove)” if he again came to him after growing uneasy with the BJP.

Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi, whose just concluded state-wide ‘Jan Vishwas Yatra’ saw its culmination in the rally, mentioned the Bollywood song “idhar chala kabhi udhar chala... phisal gaya (sometimes goes here, sometimes there and slips) to target Kumar.

Prasad lambasted the Prime Minister for criticising “parivarvad (dynastic rule)” in politics.

Known for pulling no punches, the RJD supremo said, “What can we do if Narendra Modi does not have a family of his own? He keeps bragging about the Ram temple. He is not even a true Hindu. In Hindu tradition, a son must get his head and beard shaved upon the demise of his parent. Modi did not do so when his mother died.”

Those who addressed the rally earlier included Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who said, “UP (80 Lok Sabha seats) and Bihar (40) together have 120 seats. If we ensure the BJP’s rout in these two states, the party will not be able to form the government at the Centre.”

Left leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretaries of the CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML), respectively, denounced the Narendra Modi government’s policies, alleging these were only benefiting big businesses, even as they praised Tejashwi Yadav’s emphasis on job creation.

BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said, “When Laluji spoke at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, there was no crowd near the stage. RJD unsuccessfully tried an image make-over by mobilising opposition leaders across India. In the flop Jan Vishwas rally, leaders sang a collective elegy of INDI Alliance failure.”

JD(U) chief spokesperson and MLC Neeraj Kumar said the opposition leader Tejashwi was trying to disassociate himself from the political sins of his father and the RJD in the midst of top GA leaders today.

“You (read Tejashwi) said RJD is a “ Mai- Baap’ ki party. Of course, it is,” said Kumar, trying to imply that the RJD’s bid to show itself as an inclusive party by coining the new term ‘Mai-Baap’ (an acronym for Muslim-Yadav plus Bahujan, Agada (forward), Aaadhi (women) and poor, would only indicate the dynasty politics of the party.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ruchir writes on health, aviation, power and myriad other issues. An ex-TOI, he has worked both on Desk and in reporting. He over 25 years of broadcast and print journalism experience in Assam, Jharkhand & Bihar.

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