In a clear attempt to woo back his traditional Muslim vote base, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad cast himself in the role of the protector of Muslims during his ‘Parivartan Rally’ at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on Wednesday.

His sons and daughters in tow, Mr. Prasad also drove home his focus on Bihar’s youth by promising them 50 per cent of the ticket share in his party.

The high-energy event of over one lakh supporters saw Mr. Prasad make a strong statement with his topi (cap) as he presented the threat by fundamental forces to the unity of the country.

“Brothers and sisters of Bihar, ours is a secular State. Be it Narendra Modi or Advani, we will not allow them to rule the country,” Mr. Prasad said.

Citing threats to Muslims from “divisive” forces, Mr. Prasad urged his party to “fight at every nook and corner” for the rights of the minorities. He termed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) a party of defectors and turncoats and Mr. Kumar “a parrot” of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

He accused the Chief Minister of deceiving dalits by carving out a ‘mahadalit’ category and appeasing them with cheap sops like the radio.