Sonia, Nitish, Lalu engage in Modi-bashing; BJP hits backCongress president Sonia Gandhi being welcomed with a garland along with Bihar chief Minister and senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav during the Swabhiman Rally in Patna on Sunday. PTI

Sonia, Nitish, Lalu engage in Modi-bashing; BJP hits back

As Cong chief targets govt over its Pak policy, BJP accuses her of spreading lies30 Aug 2015 | 8:58 PM

PATNA/NEW DELHI: Coming together for the first time ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, top leaders of the ‘grand secular alliance’, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, today claimed victory on the vexed land Bill as they tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ‘unfulfilled promises’ and ‘insult’ to Bihari pride. Hitting back, the BJP said “promoters of politics of family rule, opportunism and corruption” have joined hands.

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Patna/New Delhi, August 30

Coming together for the first time ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, top leaders of the ‘grand secular alliance’, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, today claimed victory on the vexed land Bill as they tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ‘unfulfilled promises’ and ‘insult’ to Bihari pride. Hitting back, the BJP said “promoters of politics of family rule, opportunism and corruption” have joined hands.

Sharing dais with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad at a ‘Swabhiman rally’ in Patna, Sonia Gandhi said, “This is an anti-farmer government. They want to grab their land and distribute it among their rich friends. We fought for the protection of farmers' rights in the Parliament and in the end government had to bow down.”

On a day when faced with stiff resistance, Modi announced that the government will not re-promulgate the controversial land acquisition ordinance that expires tomorrow, the secular alliance leaders claimed their endeavour saw the government "bow down" to pressure.

Modi's DNA barb against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also came in for sharp criticism with the leaders mounting a blistering attack on him, contending it “denigrated the legacy of the state”.

As Sonia attacked the Modi government over "diluting" MNREGA and its Pakistan policy, the BJP said the whole world had acknowledged India's tough stand on terrorism but she spoke "lies" while her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi went to border to question the Centre instead of Pakistan.

"The promoters of family rule, opportunism and corruption were today at one platform... Sonia Gandhi, you should have shown some shame. You told lies on Pakistan," Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference.

Under the BJP government, allocation to MNREGA had been increased by Rs 5,000 crore and it was not diluted as alleged by Gandhi, he said.

Sonia, who had shown rare aggression during the washed out monsoon session of Parliament, alleged the Modi government did not do anything except "show baazi" despite having completed one-fourth of its tenure.

Putting behind their past rancour, Sonia, Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad also praised each other as they readied to take on the BJP-led NDA in the state polls that are likely to see a keen electoral contest.

Keen to exploit the emotive 'DNA' issue during the elections to invoke Bihari pride, Sonia said, "Some people take pleasure in mocking Bihar. Whenever they get opportunity they comment about its DNA and culture. They also call it BIMARU (laggard).”

Demanding that Modi take back his DNA remark, Kumar said, “This is the place from where Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and Aryabhatta came... My DNA is the same DNA.” Speaking at a BJP rally in Muzaffarpur some time ago, Modi had said, “There seems to be some problem with his (Kumar's) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy you respect even your political rivals.”

Taking on Modi over his frequent references to the return of ‘jungle raj’, an epithet used by the detractors of the Lalu-Rabri dispensation to describe alleged misgovernance under them, the RJD chief said the JD(U)-RJD-Cong-SP coalition will usher in 'Mangal Raaj Part-2'.

Though Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who brokered peace between Lalu and Kumar, did not attend, he was represented by his younger brother and Uttar Pradesh Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav at the rally.

 “You had promised to provide one crore jobs to youth every year...forget about new jobs you have put a stop on the existing ones,” Sonia said, asking the electorate not to fall into the “trap” of tall promises.

Kumar also trashed Modi's warnings about a return of the "rule of the jungle" and said "no jungle raj is coming, its only that poor and the deprived have awakened to their rights which BJP is calling jungle raj." The bonhomie was on display as Kumar addressed Lalu as “Bade Bhai”.

As per seat-sharing arrangements, JD(U) is contesting 100 seats of the 243-member assembly, RJD 98, Congress 40 and Samajwadi Party 5. NCP of Sharad Pawar had walked out of the combination after it was offered a paltry quota of three seats, which were later allotted to the SP. Lalu too gave away two seats of the 100 in his quota to Mulayam Singh Yadav's party.

BJP dubs it ‘apman rally’

Seeking to corner the Congress over her sharing dais with the RJD chief, a convict in a fodder scam case, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a "cruel joke" that she praised his rule in Bihar, saying it was an "insult" of Bihar.

The BJP dubbed the grand alliance's “Swabhiman” rally as "apman rally". "There was no issue of development in today's rally. There were no women, dalit and poor," he said, mocking Gandhi for her "supporting role" with Kumar and Prasad being the "mascot" and "director" of the Jungle Raaj-II.

Slamming Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi for questioning government about its stand on Pakistan, Prasad said that the government has taken a tough stand on the matter. "We have made it clear that we will not tolerate terrorism," he said.

Prasad said that Nitish is "misleading" people on PM's Bihar package. "You received Rs 12,000 crore during the Congress rule out of which Rs 8,000 crore was given by us. Rs 1.25 lakh crore is approved by PMO and duly notified,” he said.

"Nitish ji, when you have the capacity to spend Rs 2.70 lakh crore in coming five years, why do you need the package," Prasad asked. — PTI

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Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi shot dead

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