Bitter foes for almost two decades, former Bihar chief ministers Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad today hugged each other as they launched a joint campaign in support of their alliance candidates for the August 21 Assembly by-polls, and took on ruling BJP at the Centre.
Kumar, who had parted ways with Lalu in 1994 and succeeded in dethroning him in Bihar in 2005 in alliance with BJP, said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre knows that it cannot fulfil the tall promises it has made and will resort to spreading religious passion to cling to power.
"They can run government. They cannot run the country. Did 'achchhe din (good days)' come?" he asked, referring to BJP's slogan during elections.
"Achchhe din will never come. But they have come for some people in BJP. In fact, their 'apne din (own days)' have come," said Kumar, who split with BJP last year over his opposition to Modi's elevation as Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP, and quit as chief minister after his party JD(U) was routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
He said his alliance with Lalu, whose party RJD also fared poorly in polls but fetched more votes than JD(U), was the need of the hour as the country was in "danger".
Hitting out at BJP, Kumar said it is for the first time that those leaders are in power who did not spend a single day in jail during freedom struggle.
"Our forefathers sacrificed their lives. We all know the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Lohia, Vallabhbhai Patel, Ambedkar... Now those people are in the seat of power who did not spend a day behind bars," he said, in an apparent attack on the BJP's ideological mentor RSS, which mostly kept away from political movements during the freedom struggle.