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Rahul, Maya and Yechury may abstain from Lalu's rally

Abhay Kumar, DH News Service, PATNA, Aug 23 2017, 19:28 IST
 At least three senior leaders - Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Mayawati (BSP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPM) - have decided to stay away from Lalu's 'BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally in Patna on August 27. File photo

At least three senior leaders - Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Mayawati (BSP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPM) - have decided to stay away from Lalu's 'BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally in Patna on August 27. File photo

This may not be music to Lalu Prasad’s ears. His attempt to forge a national level unity against the mighty BJP appears to have grounded even before its take off.

At least three senior leaders - Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Mayawati (BSP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPM) - have decided to stay away from Lalu’s ‘BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao’ rally in Patna on August 27, while the other two - MK Stalin (DMK) and Sharad Pawar (NCP) - are uncertain about their participation in the political jamboree.

Though Lalu may put up a brave front and exude confidence that his proposed rally on Sunday may surpass all previous records, it’s undeniably a major setback for the RJD chief already grappling with corruption charges and court cases.

“Ghulam Nabi Azad and CP Joshi are likely to represent Congress while Satish Chandra Mishra would attend the rally on Mayawati’s behalf,” said Lalu here on Wednesday. He had earlier invited Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Left, DMK and NCP in his bid to bring all those forces, inimical to the BJP, under one roof.

Rahul, who took a stand on corruption and tore an ‘Ordinance’ in 2013 (a move which eventually led to the disqualification of Lalu as MP following his conviction in fodder scam), has never shared a warm relationship with the RJD chief. Mayawati, who was offered by Lalu a Rajya Sabha berth last month when she quit the Upper House, too has made her intentions clear by deciding not to share the dais with SP leaders. Similar is the case with Sitaram Yechury who is reportedly not comfortable in sharing the dais with tainted leaders like Mamata (facing Sharda scam) and Lalu (facing benami property and fodder scam).

“The rally is not to forge unity amongst Opposition parties. It will be a get-together of those facing corruption charges. Instead of ‘Desh Bachao’ rally, Lalu should have named it ‘Meri property bachao’ rally,” remarked senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

The BJP leader, who has been at the forefront exposing how Lalu amassed huge wealth, mostly benami property, advised Lalu that he should postpone his rally on August 27 in the wake of the devastation caused by the flood. “At least 18 districts in Bihar are flooded. Instead of holding such rallies, Lalu should spend the money on rehabilitating the flood victims,” said Modi.

Not to be cowed down, Lalu retorted: “PM Narendra Modi is coming to Bihar a day ahead of the rally, just to outshine us. This itself shows the importance of my rally.”

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