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Opposition to use Patna rally for show of power

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2020 Published on February 19, 2020

Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav   -  The Hindu

With Bihar elections likely by year end, the rally is expected to help consolidate opposition forces

After Jharkhand and Delhi, the focus of the political parties is shifting to Bihar, where Assembly elections are due in October-November, and the culmination of Jan Gan Man Yatra, led by CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar, with Opposition parties likely to put up a show of strength.

CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar   -  The Hindu

 

The yatra has the support of the Left parties, certain leaders of the Congress and several NGOs. Some RJD leaders, on their individual initiative, had also addressed public meetings as part of the rally. The RJD, however, has not shown any keenness to join the rally. The main thrust of the yatra is a campaign against Citizenship Amendment Act and the alleged violations of the Constitutional principles by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Anti-incumbency

Party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told BusinessLine that more than the CAA, the anti-incumbency against the 15-year-old Nitish Kumar regime is the main issue in Bihar. “JD(U) has failed people by siding with the BJP. Several JD(U) MLAs will join us before the election because people will reject the JD(U) in the elections,” Tiwari said and added that the RJD does not need an alliance to win the polls, but discussions with like-minded parties will take place before the polls.

“CAA is being used by the State Government to communalise and polarise people. The real issue is the misrule of the NDA government. People are asking questions,” Tiwari charged.

Now RJD’s ‘yatra’

The RJD is planning a separate march titled Berozgari Hatao Yatra against unemployment in the State. Opposition leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said recently that unemployment is the biggest issue that is bothering the educated youth as “Bihar has the highest rate of unemployment in the country”.

“Nitish Kumar’s 15-year rule had been totally directionless and visionless. He failed to attract a single major investor or any industry worth mentioning.

All he could offer to the young people was temporary contract jobs with exploitative fixed salaries. For this huge monumental failure of his, he should tender an unconditional apology to the people of Bihar and resign from politics,” Yadav had recently said.

Failed alliance

The RJD-Congress-Left parties alliance failed to take place in 2019, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, reportedly because of problems between Yadav with Kumar. The RJD feels that Kumar belongs to an upper caste community and this identity may not fetch him votes. There were also reports that the RJD is wary of Kumar’s popularity.

The Left parties said the yatra is not for projecting a leader, but for projecting an issue. “The anti-CAA protests have support from secular parties too. The protests are gaining ground. People from all sections of societies are supporting such protests. By and large, the protests are spreading. For example in Khagaria district, there were two permanent protest venues earlier and now there are three,” said senior CPI(M) leader Sarvodaya Sharma. He added that the yatra is not just Kanhaiya Kumar’s yatra, but a lot of forces are supporting it.

Sharma said the Left parties have invited the RJD too for the February 27 rally which will be held at the historic Gandhi Maidan in Patna. “We have approached the RJD. But they were not very keen. But when the date comes nearer, they may decide to come up,” Sharma hoped. He said 5,000-10,000 people attended every public meeting held as part of the yatra.

Published on February 19, 2020
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