At a huge Patna rally organised by Lalu Yadav, Ms Banerjee – who shared cordial relations with Nitish Kumar – accused him of betraying the mandate given by Bihar in the assembly elections in the state. “The vote was of Laluji and Nitish is enjoying the power…. he ditched everyone. Laluji did not leave him. But God will leave him,” she said.
“I will remain with this alliance… I trust Laluji, Akhileshji (Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav) who keep their words,” said Ms Banerjee, who was sharing the dais with the two leaders at Patna’s huge anti-BJP rally organised by Lalu Yadav’s party.
In the assembly elections of 2015, the Grand Alliance of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav and the Congress had won a huge mandate. The lion’s share of the seats – 81 of 243 — had gone to Lalu Yadav. But unable to contest elections or head a government because of his conviction in the fodder scam, Lalu Yadav had allowed Mr Kumar to become the Chief Minister. Mr Yadav’s two sons – Tejashwi and Tej Pratap – had become ministers in Nitish Kumar’s government.
But last month, Mr Kumar had ended the alliance over allegations of corruption against his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav – a stance that the Lalu Yadav camp had dismissed as eyewash. Lalu Yadav and his party had said Mr Kumar had been in league with the BJP for long and used the allegations as an excuse to call off the alliance.
Targetting the BJP, Ms Banerjee – who has also been at the centre of a controversy over the immersion of Durga idols — said, “I’m a Hindu and don’t need any certificate from you”. The Chief Minister of Bengal, whose party enjoys the support of a majority of the state’s Muslims, recently edited the timings of idol immersion on Vijaya Dashami this year as it was coinciding with Muharram.
“Sacrifice means Hindu, and Iman or character means Muslim, love means Christianity and sacrifice means Sikhs,” said the West Bengal Chief Minister.