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Lalu Yadav, Sushil Modi cross swords over PM Modi's rally in Patna

File photo of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

PTI Patna, Bihar, India Mar 03, 2019, 10.20 PM (IST)

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Sunday likened the turnout at the BJP-led coalition's rally in Patna, which was addressed among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the gatherings that he attracted whenever he stopped by at a betel shop on the roadside.

The characteristic swagger of the jailed RJD supremo evoked an angry response from Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who taunted Prasad over allegations of corruption and patronage to criminals.

Prasad whose Twitter handle is operated by his close aides, while he is himself at Ranchi serving sentences in fodder scam cases, came out with a couple of tweets on the Sankalp Rally which served as the first occasion for the prime minister to share the stage with the RJD supremo's arch-rival Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The NDA in Bihar at present constitutes the BJP, Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party.

"Narendra Modi, Nitish and Paswan exerted themselves for months, even used the government machinery to ensure a handsome turnout at Gandhi Maidan. The number of people who gathered there was about the same that I get flanked by whenever I stop my car at a paan ki gumti (betel shop). Try harder gentlemen, get the cameras zoomed (in) a bit more," Yadav said mockingly in his first tweet.

"The great public of Bihar, which always upholds justice, cut them down to size. When a man watches his plan fail, he can utter any type of falsehood, come up with all sorts of jumlas. Possibility of a defeat in Bihar has so badly shaken confidence that a speech teleprompter has been installed even though the address is being made in Hindi," the RJD supremo said in another tweet with the hashtag #BiharRejectsModi.

Sushil Kumar Modi came up with the riposte: "Everybody knows what type of crowds flanked the one whose rule was known for irregularities in purchase of fodder for cattle, B.Ed degrees awarded to young people aspiring for a career in teaching, and bitumen used in construction of roads. Clowns too are known to attract crowds.

"The convicted Lalu Prasad is frustrated over the enthusiastic response that the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, both enjoying clean images, have received at the rally."

Meanwhile, the RJD's allies in the state -- the Congress, Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha -- besides other anti-NDA parties like CPI, CPI(ML) and the Aam Aadmi Party also issued statements describing the rally as a "super flop" and accused the BJP-led coalition of misusing government machinery to ensure a satisfactory turnout.

Story highlights

Prasad whose Twitter handle is operated by his close aides, while he is himself at Ranchi serving sentences in fodder scam cases, came out with a couple of tweets on the Sankalp Rally which served as the first occasion for the prime minister to share the stage with the RJD supremo's arch-rival Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.