RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's mega rally 'BJP bhagao, Desh bachao' took place at Patna's Gandhi Maidan on August 27. Photograph: (WION)
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also participated in the mega event
Leaders of 18 political parties came together in a massive show of strength against the BJP-led federal government at the "BJP bhagao, Desh bachao" rally organised by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad at Patna's Gandhi Maidan. Among them were JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal chief minister, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Lalu Prasad, who was dropped as alliance partner by JDU chief Nitish Kumar in a surprise move, took potshots at the Bihar chief minister and said he was never in favour of Nitish becoming the chief minister. The RJD chief said he had been forced to enter into the "Mahagathbandhan" or grand alliance with the JDU "keeping in mind the state of affairs of the country".
The RJD chief accused Nitish Kumar of betraying the people's mandate and said his family would not succumb to the pressure of the "false cases" against them.
His son, former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav vowed to "tear apart the BJP" and blew a conch shell, calling for war against the party.
Lalu and Tejashwi found a staunch ally in JDU leader leader Sharad Yadav who expressed his disappointment at the breakup of the Mahagathbandhan and promised another grand alliance to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
"I am hurt due to the fall of the Grand Alliance government in Bihar, but I promise to build another one at the national level."
Sharad Yadav further described how the Grand Alliance was stitched in Bihar stating that the mandate was given by the people for five years against the BJP leadership.
"Mahagathbandhan (alliance) was given a five-year mandate by the people of Bihar based on its policies, principles and the cumulative leadership that we presented. This was also a mandate against the BJP and the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
Sharad Yadav further exhorted the youth to build a new India, stating the country cannot run with just rhetorics. He concluded his speech with the words - 'Inquilab Zindabad', averring the country is in danger and the struggle will continue.
"Earlier it was rally of the RJD, but now it has become a rally of Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) to save the country," Sharad Yadav, who is staring at an expulsion from the party for defying orders, had said earlier Saturday.
Lalu Prasad had earlier that the rally would be an important event ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which a united opposition would throw the BJP out of power.