Patna: In a display of opposition unity against the BJP, political heavyweights including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and SP president Akhilesh Yadav shared a platform at Lalu Prasad’s mega rally on Sunday.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad has already said the ‘BJP bhagao desh bachao’ rally would herald the decline of the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is staring at an expulsion from the party for defying orders of not to attend the rally, was greeted warmly by Prasad who embraced him on the dais.
Yadav was accompanied by suspended JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar. JD(U) leader KC Tyagi, in a letter to Yadav, had asked him to skip the rally and if he attends it would mean that he has quit the party voluntarily. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress general secretary C P Joshi were present at the rally.
The RJD chief and his wife Rabri Devi greeted Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee and their son Tejaswi Yadav touched her feet.
CPI’s general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy and secretary D Raja were present on the dais while JMM chief and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, and JVM president Babulal Marandi were attended the rally.
NCP leader and MP Tariq Anwar was also present. Prasad, his wife, sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap Yadav, and daughter Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP were seated on the front row of the VVIP dais greeting leaders from other parties on their arrival.
Early speakers including Raghubansh Prasad Singh, Abdul Bari Siddiwui, Shivanand Tiwari and others criticised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for breaking the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ the grand alliance and joining hands with the BJP to form a new government in the state.
They also showered praise on Prasad’s son and former deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav, describing him as the “future leader of Bihar.”
Akhilesh Yadav, Hemant Soren, Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap came together on the dais and waived at the crowd signalling unity among younger generation of the major opposition parties.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the rally at Gandhi Maidan, where a total of 64 CCTV cameras have been installed.