Forgetting 20 years of political rivalry after Lok Sabha poll debacle, RJD President Lalu Prasad and senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar today came on a platform together and accused the BJP government of "dividing" society on communal lines and failing to fullfill promises of checking price rise and generating employment.
Prasad and Kumar, who hugged each other on the dais, addressed a joint election rally at Jamalpur village, 10km from Hajipur town in Vaishali district, about 25 km from Patna, to drum up support for JD(U) candidate Rajendra Rai in the bypoll on Hajipur seat.
Terming his joining hands with Kumar as "home coming" of the two, Prasad appealed to Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to similarly bury the hatchet and join hands to defeat BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
The joint rally of Lalu and Nitish kicked off the by-election campaign of secular alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress for 10 assembly seats that would go to vote on August 21.
The appearance of Prasad and Kumar, who had parted ways in 1994, on the same dais was cheered by people and supporters of the three alliance parties.
There was no big leader from Congress at the meeting and the party was represented by its district unit President Sunil Kumar Singh.
Prasad and Kumar, who had parted company in 1994 when Kumar walked out of Janata Dal to form his own Samata Party and succeeded in ousting Prasad from power after aligning with BJP, justified their coming together again.
"We have joined hands not for the sake of power but to save the society and the country which is under threat from forces out to create division on communal lines in the society," Nitish Kumar said addressing the rally.
Prasad said they have come together for the sake of social justice which is threatened by BJP which came to power by "feeding false promises to people".
Prasad said if the vote per centage of RJD, JD(U) and Congress are taken together, it would come to 45 per cent, which is much more than that of BJP which got over 29 per cent vote in Bihar in parliamentary poll.
Nitish Kumar, who resigned as Chief Minister after JD(U) was decimated in the poll, said, "It's for the first time in the history of electoral politics that a party has gained majority on its own in parliamentary election by receiving a 'small' vote percentage of 30 per cent."
Launching a sharp attack on BJP government, Kumar said they came to power by "hoodwinking" voters by making several promises and now they are "intoxicated" with power.
"Sarkar chalana aasan hain per desh chalana utna aasan nahi hai (its easy to run government but not the country)," Kumar said.
Taking a potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming him, Kumar, who severed 17 years of ties with BJP on the issue of Modi's elevation as PM candidate of BJP, said, "Where is acheche din (good days) promised to people, particularly the youths?"
"People had stated assuming that the day BJP comes to power Pakistan will be shown its place, price of essential commodities will normalise...But have these things happened?" he asked the crowd.
On BJP President Amit Shah's comments about him sitting in the lap of Lalu Prasad, Kumar said it's natural for him to be frightened because he understands the joint might of the two.
Prasad also targeted Shah for the comment and said, "I am Kumar's elder brother so what's so big if he has come in my lap."
Kumar said socialists have uprooted Congress from power after the Emergency "but now Congress is no threat and the same force of socialists will throw BJP out of power".
Kumar said the venue of the joint rally was also important as Vaishali had given first republic to the world. "This historical place will send a strong message to people against BJP," he said.
In his typical style, Prasad launched strong attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"His taking oath at 6:15 pm proved inauspicious for the country. The country saw drowning of over a dozen students in (Beas river) Himachal Pradesh and more recently Kosi belt in Bihar was threatened by flood from Nepal which coincided with his visit," the RJD chief said.
"He won a lot of praise in the name of running bullet train and in the garb of it, he raised passenger fare," Prasad, a former Railway Minister, said.
Prasad claimed people are seething in anger over rise in prices of tomato, onion and other essential commodities, CSAT in UPSC examination controversy, "but the Prime Minister is silent. This is because he does not have any answer to these issues".
BJP's euphoria over victory in Lok Sabha election recently received setback in Uttarakhand where Congress won all three seats in byelection of Assembly, he said, adding, Bihar would take this forward by ensuring defeat of BJP on all 10 seats in bypoll on August 21.
Prasad also attacked LJP President Ramvilas Paswan and described him as "weather scientist", an apparent reference to his shift from UPA to NDA.
He also commented on his own party leader Ramkripal Yadav switching to BJP on poll eve and asked the people to be aware of such "weather scientists".
The RJD chief charged RSS with fomenting "communal passion" in the country.