Down in the dumps since their defeat in the Lok Sabha polls this year, opposition parties in Bihar on Saturday explored the possibility of staging a comeback at a function to observe the death anniversary of legendary leader Ram Manohar Lohia.
The socialist leader had inspired the formation of rainbow coalitions which unseated the then hegemonic Congress from power in a number of states in the 1960s.
The function, hosted by former Union minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, was attended by representatives of virtually all parties opposed to the BJP-led NDA which rules the state as well as the Centre.
Besides Kushwaha, RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi and Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahni shared the dais.
Leaders of Congress, CPI and CPI(M) were also present at the function held here.
They sought to give out the message that the five- party Grand Alliance which includes Congress and RLSP was hopeful of posing a combined challenge to the NDA in the assembly polls next year, despite not being able to put up a united fight in the by-elections scheduled later this month.
Asserting that he was a son of jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad - known for stoutly opposing the BJP all through his political career, Yadav said he could never think of any "compromise with communal forces".
Yadav apparently sought to scotch speculations that he was working towards a "compromise" with the BJP in the wake of legal wrangles engulfing his entire family.
Alleging that the country was in a state of "undeclared Emergency" where freedom of expression was being throttled, the 29-year-old younger son of Lalu Prasad called upon leaders present on the occasion to "keep our morale high and rise above narrow self-interest".
Blaming the Grand Alliance's defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in which it lost 39 out of 40 seats on faulty EVMs, Yadav demanded that the electronic voting machines be replaced with ballot papers for free and fair elections next year.
Yadav also demanded that the caste census date be made public and various social segments given reservations, pointing out that the ceiling of 50 per cent for quotas set by the Supreme Court has already been breached with the introduction of another 10 per cent for the economically backward sections by the Narendra Modi government.
Sharad Yadav, who headed the JD(U) for many years until being sidelined by Kumar, claimed: "Institutions like the judiciary, the Election Commission and agencies like the Enforcement Directorate were in peril under the current dispensation at the Centre."
The parties passed of a resolution claiming that the Nitish Kumar government failed to prevent the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal last year, the outbreak of brain fever that killed about 200 children earlier this year, and the water-logging that wreaked havoc in Patna recently.
It was also resolved that state-wide demonstrations would be staged by all opposition parties against the "anti- people governments at the Centre and in the state" on November 10 which would set the tone for galvanising public opinion ahead of the Bihar assembly polls due next year.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)