Will never part ways with Congress: Lalu

Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad, who snapped ties with the Congress in 2009, vowed on Tuesday to part ways with its old ally never again after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence.

Mr. Prasad, who has been making overtures to the Congress ever since he was released on bail earlier this month in one of the fodder scam cases, admitted that snapping ties with the Congress was a mistake.

After the nearly 10-minute meeting, Mr. Yadav told journalists that Ms. Gandhi agreed to meet him again within a month to discuss an alliance.

Eager to forge stronger ties with the Congress at a time when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also been extending an olive branch to the party after he parted ways with the BJP, Mr. Yadav said he was confident that both the Congress and the RJD, along with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Jan Shakti Party, would be able to thwart the march of the communal forces in Bihar and Jharkhand.

“I am saying with full confidence that we will unite all secular parties against the communal forces. The Congress is a national party, a strong and secular party. Earlier we were together, we are, even today, and will remain so even in future. I will make any sacrifice for this... I will not allow the communal forces to occupy power at any cost… that is my aim...,” Mr. Lalu Prasad said.

Mr. Lalu Prasad described Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as “million times better” than the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal. Claiming to have learnt lessons from the past, Mr. Yadav said it was in the best interests of the Congress, the RJD and the LJP to fight the elections together. He recalled how they had won 29 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. But in 2009, he made the mistake of offering only three seats to the Congress. Because of this, the alliance broke, and the three parties won just six seats among them.

“The mistake will not be repeated this time,” he said, recalling an anecdote from the Mahabharata. “The Congress had demanded only five villages, and we made the mistake of not giving them. Such mistakes will not be repeated. Our alliance is ready.”

Mr. Yadav also indicated that he had warmed up to Mr. Paswan too and was prepared to accommodate him with his terms.

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 10:26:40 pm |