Patna: The call for a Maha Rally here in August against the Bharatiya Janata Party given by the former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav is seen, by critics, as an attempt by him to divert attention and shift the spotlight from land scam which surfaced recently.
His critics believe that through the rally he wants to bring the non-BJP forces on one platform and put pressure on the BJP government at the Centre to help him wriggle out of the current situation he is in. He has successfully done it in the past and, so, applying the tested method again.
The worst critics of the BJP in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular are Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Trinamool Congress Mamata Banerjee. Expectedly, they were invited to the rally early. Always looking for an opportunity to put Modi on the mat, both agreed to attend the anti-BJP rally.
However, his coalition partner in Bihar and the second largest party in the state in terms of number, the Janata Dal (U) , has not clearly said anything in this regard. The party’s statement that it is too early to react to the proposal does not mean much.
Some others including left parties too have not sounded enthusiastic. In addition to cases against him they have to keep in mind that their arch rival Mamata will be one of the major participants in the rally.
Because of the recent order of the Supreme Court in fodder scam in which he is one of the accused and the new allegations against his family members, his stocks have gone low. It may be the main reason of many not jumping to his bandwagon so far.
The slow response by major anti-Modi forces might have been far from pleasing to him. He desperately needs support of these forces to keep the BJP , mainly state party leaders like Sushil Modi, quiet.
It was he who had raised the land scam involving his family members and brought it to the fore. Now he has vowed not to rest till Lalu and his men are brought to justice.
This is not a small scam . More than Rs 1000 crores are involved in the deals. Lalu’s complicity cannot be totally ruled out because the deals were struck during his tenure as a Union railway minister.
He has also worries on account of the apex court’s order asking him to face fresh trial in the fodder case. The conspiracy angle in the case will be also examined. Unlike other cases, it has fixed a time-limit of nine months for the hearing. It means he has very little time left to mend his fences. He is aware of it and perhaps it is for this reason that he proposed the rally soon after the land scam reports hit top newspaper headlines.
His supporters, however, view it differently. To them, all this is a part of his long-term strategy to prevent the BJP from coming to power again and not because of any scam.