Amid continuing differences within Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance, the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar appears reluctant to announce its support for RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s ‘BJP hatao, desh bachao’ proposed rally in Patna on August 27. According to a media report, the JD(U) has already decided to skip the event aimed at showcasing the unity of non-BJP parties at the national level ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Party’s national general secretary Shyam Rajak on Saturday said that the JD(U) will not participate in next month’s event as a party. Rajak, who had in 2009 quit from the RJD and joined Nitish’s party, however, said that ‘if party president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar gets an invite, he will take a final call on whether to attend the rally in his individual capacity’.
“It's an RJD rally and JD(U) will not participate in it as a party,” Rajak was quoted as saying in a TOI report.
Rajak’s remark is yet another example of the widening rift between the partners of the Mahagathbandhan. The rift between JD(U) and RJD widened last month when former decided to support NDA’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind and not the opposition nominee Meira Kumar. Also on Friday night, breaking ranks with other opposition parties, Nitish had sent his emissary to attend the Centre’s midnight launch of Goods and Services Tax (GST),
Lalu has announced that the rally will be attended by top non-BJP leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and its vice president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (BJD), former Union minister Sharad Pawar (NCP), former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda (JD-S) and MK Stalin of DMK. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati have already announced that they will attend the rally.
“I will be present at Lalu Prasad's Bihar rally on August 27. If there is any announcement (regarding future alliance) it will me made there,” Akhilesh had said.
Meanwhile, on June 5, Lalu will meet party office-bearers and elected representatives in Patna to review preparations for the rally.
The effort is to repeat a Bihar-like experiment at the national level with all parties opposed to the BJP coming together in 2019.