Friday, May 2, 2014

Race for Bihar’s Saran gets hotter

The electoral battle for Saran constituency, where former CM Rabri Devi of the RJD faces a stiff challenge from former Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP, heated up on Friday when top leaders of the three major parties in the fray held rallies and attacked one another.

Ms Devi’s husband and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is apparently banking on a revival of his previously gainful formula of Muslim-Yadav social coalition, flaunted his secular credentials at a massive rally by recounting how he had got BJP stalwart L.K. Advani arrested in Bihar during the Ram temple movement in October 1990. Explaining the contrasts between “Mandal and kamandal” (Mandal Commission and a pro-Hindutva BJP), he told his audience of his struggles to ensure reservation benefits for the backward castes.

Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain hit out at both the RJD and the JD(U) for “using Muslims as vote banks,” saying Bihar’s Muslims would no longer be deceived by the two regional parties.

“I am the only Muslim MP of the BJP in the Lok Sabha. This has posed terrible problem for both Lalu Prasad Yadav and chief minister Nitish Kumar when they try to present the BJP as an enemy of the Muslims,” he said.

CM Nitish Kumar of the JD(U), who also addressed a rally in the constituency, dubbed both the RJD and the BJP as unworthy parties that had little real concern for Bihar’s development. “The party that looks keen on a division of India and the other party that goes about with a lantern (RJD symbol) in the age of electricity will not succeed in their evil efforts,” said Mr Kumar.