After Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi to skip Lalu Prasad Yadav's anti-BJP rally
In a major setback to non-BJP opposition unity, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati have decided to skip the rally called by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Patna on August 27.
Lalu Prasad on Wednesday admitted that neither Sonia nor Mayawati would be turning up at his rally but send a senior party leader as her representative.
"I spoke to Mayawati ji. She will send BSP's general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra as her representative at the rally while Sonia Gandhi will send senior Congress functionary Ghulam Nabi Azad and AICC general secretary and party in-charge for Bihar CP Joshi as her emissaries," RJD chief told reporters.
Howver, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, JD(U)'s rebel former president and Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav would attend the rally with his supporters.
The RJD's rally is being seen as an attempt to forge a larger alliance of like-minded parties to counter the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting sharply to Sushil Modis appeal, RJD chief said Sushil Kumar Modi's should not teach me. Will the postponement of the rally lead to the end of floods in Bihar?" he questioned.
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi's had appealed to postpone the rally in view of the grim flood situation in the state.
He said Sushil Modi should explain to people as to how embankments of different rivers were broken when the state government had spent around Rs 600 crore on their repair and maintenance.
The RJD boss also questioned the timing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts in Bihar on July 26, just a day before his rally, asking, "Why is PM visiting now when flood is over and floodwaters are on receding trend?"
"Why did the PM not pay a visit to Bihar during floods last year when there was a grand alliancegovernment? Why is the PM coming this year only? Where was he in 2015 or 2016?" he asked.
The development could cast serious doubts among the opposition parties who have been planning to gather in Patna in a show of strength against a surging BJP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.