Lalu runs pillar to post to galvanize opposition while Rahul scurries off to Norway
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's "Desh Bachao, BJP Bhagao" rally is not likely to be seen as a serious uprising against the ruling NDA with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi giving it a miss. Whatever may be said about the Congress, which has just over 40 seats in Lok Sabha, it is still the principal opposition party in the country.
At a time when the Grand Alliance was in shambles after Nitish Kumar switched sides, it was all the more important for Rahul Gandhi to be present at the rally in Patna.
Instead, Rahul has scurried off to Norway, without even giving a proper reason as to why he is heading to Norway the opposition unity is the need of the hour. His statement just says that he is on an official visit.
"I am confident that this rally would expose nefarious designs of the ruling party and their government. I very much wanted to attend this rally but I am on an official visit to Norway because of which I am unable to be there," Rahul's statement said.
In rest of the statement, he criticised the BJP government on usual lines, calling it anti-poor and anti-farmers.
"This rally comes at a time when the fundamentals of the nation are being attacked. They are using a combination of money and power to extend their influence on states now. This government has forgotten about the promises made to people in 2014," the statement added.
Meanwhile, a sea of people could be seen at Lalu's rally in Patna's Gandhi Maidan.
Rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav shared a stage for the first time with Lalu Yadav at the anti-BJP rally, ignoring the JD-U's warning not to attend it.
Sharad Yadav was warmly welcomed by Lalu when he reached the stage. A smiling Lalu Prasad shook hands with him and hugged Sharad Yadav before the huge gathering.
Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also attended the rally.
Leaders of as many as 21 political parties are participating in the anti-BJP rally.