File Photo: LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan with son, Chirag, and BJP President Amit Shah (Press Trust of India)
Describing the 'Swabhiman Rally' of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance in Patna today as a "big flop" due to low turnout, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president and Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan claimed the NDA will sweep the Assembly polls in Bihar with a three-fourth majority.
The attendance at the much-touted 'Swabhiman Rally' at the Gandhi Maidan was very low, which must have sunk the hearts of the organisers, namely the JD(U), RJD, Congress and SP, he told reporters.
If the secular alliance was aiming to show its strength to the NDA after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's successful rallies in Bihar, then it has failed abjectly in that endeavour, Mr Paswan said describing the rally as a "big flop" and "huge disappointment."
The LJP chief claimed the NDA would sweep the Assembly polls with a three-fourth majority as the people have made up their minds to oust the Nitish Kumar government, which had brought back the RJD's 'Jungle Raj', lawlessness and rising crimes in Bihar.
Mr Paswan tore into the theme of the rally,'Swabhiman', asking Chief Minister Nitish and RJD chief Lalu Prasad to explain as to whose swabhiman (pride) the two were trying to protect as they had attacked each other for years.
On the alliance's bid to reap political dividends out of the PM's 'DNA remarks' against Nitish Kumar, the LJP chief downplayed the issue saying the PM had made the reference about one particular person and not against all.
The Union Minister attacked Mr Kumar's announcement to spend Rs 2.70 lakh crore on development projects over the next five years in the event of being re-elected, asking him to explain as to where from he would raise such huge funds.
"Bihar generates an annual revenue from tax and other sources upto Rs 30,000 crore annually of which 90 per cent go as payment of salaries, pension and loan," he said wondering how Kumar would raise such a huge amount.
Slamming the Chief Minister for misplaced priorities during 10-years in power in building museums and others to showcase as major achievements, Mr Paswan said the funds should have been utilised for improvement of education, health and related sectors and creation of job opportunities.
"It's due to lack of engineering and medical colleges in Bihar that lakhs of students go to other states to pursue technical education resulting in flight of capital worth over Rs 20,000 crore annually, which could have been saved had there been such infrastructure in our own state," he said.
On Chief Minister Nitish Kumar drawing pleasure with the Centre not going for another ordinance on the land acquisition bill, the LJP president said he still maintained the proposal to amend the bill was in the interest of farmers and landholders who would have got higher compensation.
The land acquisition bill would have brought jobs to unemployed due to rapid industrialisation, Mr Paswan said.
The Union Minister's son, Chirag, a Lok Sabha member from Jamui, said the flickering hope of the Secular Alliance has vanished given an unimpressive turnout at its rally, which he claimed, was not even one-fourth in comparison to the attendance at the Prime Minister's rallies in Bihar.
Attacking Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for invoking veteran leader Jai Prakash Narayan's name to justify the rally against the NDA government at the Centre, he said that Narayan had given a call for 'sampurna kranti' against the Congress from the very same venue in 1974, but his self-acclaimed pupils- Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav- have joined hands with the Congress which amounts to going back on principles of the leader.