Patna: RJD president Lalu Prasad Tuesday asserted that BJP’s “wipeout” has been set in motion with the assembly elections in Karnataka, where his ally – the Congress has won a handsome majority.
Prasad’s arch rival-turned-ally, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to holding a meeting of opposition leaders after the formation of a new government in the southern state.
“The wipeout of BJP has begun (BJP ka safaya shuru ho gaya)”, was Prasad’s curt reply to waiting for journalists at the Patna airport before leaving for Delhi. He pointed towards the mask on his face that held him back from being his usual chatty self.
The ailing septuagenarian was mobbed by reporters and camera persons at the airport. The RJD supremo, who underwent a kidney transplant in Singapore last year, spent an uneventful month in his hometown before heading back to the national capital where he had been convalescing after the operation.
According to his close aides, his latest Delhi tour has been occasioned by a visit of a team of doctors from Singapore whom he will consult. It is not known whether Prasad, who is out on bail in fodder scam cases and suffers from numerous ailments, will be back in Patna soon.
Kumar, who was asked about his take on the Karnataka polls and his plans to take forward the “opposition unity” drive on the sidelines of a program here said, “I had congratulated the Congress for its stellar performance in Karnataka. We hope it will complete the formation of the government soon.”
Asked about plans to host a meeting of opposition leaders in Patna, as suggested by his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, Kumar, who had hinted that the “opposition unity” would pick up after the Karnataka polls said, “We have spoken to most like -minded leaders. We had put things on hold in view of the elections (in Karnataka).
“Once they (Congress) are through with government formation we will decide the date (for the meet),” the JD(U) supremo said. To questions on the much talked about Bihar tour of Dhirendra Shastri alias Bageshwar Baba who has reportedly said at one of his congregations that ‘Bihar will pave way for the formation of a Hindu Rashtra’, Kumar said, “He (Shastri) was not even born, nor were we, when the country became Independent and the Constitution took shape, wherein equal rights are granted to adherents of all religions. We take pride that Bihar is home to shrines of many faiths and attracts pilgrims from far and wide.
“It must also be kept in mind that nobody can bring about a change in the Constitution’s basic character. Such an exercise will require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament,” Kumar said in a veiled taunt to BJP, to which the The godman is perceived to be close, for not having the requisite numbers.
Asked to comment on Union Minister Giriraj Singh accusing him of betraying “indifference towards the Sanatana Dharma” for refusing to provide assistance to Shastri for holding ‘Baba Ka Durbaar’ here till Wednesday, Kumar shot back saying “Many people (in BJP) keep abusing me in the hope of getting some limelight and plaudits from their bosses.
“But governments cannot formulate policies in accordance with religious beliefs, which are a personal matter,” he added. Shastri is the head of Bageshwar Dham Sarkar, a religious pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Hanuman in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh and organizes ‘divya durbars’.