This Article is From Aug 30, 2015

At Massive Bihar Rally, Nitish Kumar, Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Take on PM Modi

Sonia Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad share stage at a rally in Patna. (Press Trust of India)

New Delhi: At a mega rally in Patna today, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on land acquisition bill, saying he has been forced to bow "to the will of the people".

"The rollback of the anti-farmer land bill is not PM Modi's Mann ki Baat, it is the nation's Mann ki Baat," Mr Kumar said, taking a dig at PM Modi's comments this morning on his monthly radio programme during which he said he was allowing the bill to lapse.

The Prime Minister, Mr Kumar said, did not get the support of the legislature or the people and "today he finally had to give in".

Calling the government "anti-farmer" Mrs Gandhi, who addressed the rally before Mr Kumar, said, "It snatches land from farmers to divide it among its handful of rich cronies". The government has finished one fourth of its time but has done nothing except "showbaazi," she added.

The two leaders were sharing stage today with RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the rally, which was  attended by tens of thousands of people.

Billed the "Swabhiman rally" (self-respect rally) the gathering was the first big show of unity against the common enemy - the BJP -- after the leaders joined hands last year to defeat the National Democratic Alliance in the coming assembly elections.

Not unexpectedly, PM Modi's earlier dig about Nitish Kumar's political DNA came in for much criticism. "Some people constantly run down Bihar, make fun of its culture, find flaws in its DNA, call it bimaru," Mrs Gandhi said.

"This is the place from where Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and Aryabhatta came... My DNA is the same DNA," Mr Kumar said.

"You say this is Jungle Raj part 2. No, no, this is mangal raj (the government of the good) part 2," said Lalu Prasad. "When two backward leaders came together the BJP started panicking... And now they are saying jungleraj," he added.

The JD(U) and the RJD will contest 100 seats each in the 243-member Bihar Assembly elections, scheduled to end by November. The Congress will contest on 40 seats, the remaining three will be contested by Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party.