Patna: Coming together for the first time ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, top leaders of the 'grand secular alliance' including Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday claimed victory on the vexed land bill as they tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi over "unfulfilled promises' and "insult" to Bihari pride.
On a day when faced with stiff resistance, Modi announced that the government will not re-promulgate the controversial land acquisition ordinance that expires tomorrow, the secular alliance leaders claimed their endeavour saw the government "bow down" to pressure.
Modi's DNA barb against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also came in for sharp criticism with the leaders mounting a blistering attack on him, contending it "denigrated the legacy of the state".
Sonia, who had shown rare aggression during the washed out monsoon session of Parliment, alleged the Modi government did not do anything except "show baazi" despite having completed one-fourth of its tenure.
Putting behind their past rancour, Sonia, Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad also praised each other as they readied to take on the BJP-led NDA in the state polls that are likely to see a keen electoral contest.
"This is an anti-farmer government. They want to grab their land and distribute it among their rich friends. We fought for the protection of farmers' rights in the Parliament and in the end government had to bow down," Sonia asserted.
"Today when 'Swambhiman rally' is being organised in Patna, the PM was forced to bend and retreat his steps on land acquisition Bill," said Kumar.
Keen to exploit the emotive 'DNA' issue during the elections to invoke Bihari pride, Sonia said,"Some people take pleasure in mocking Bihar. Whenever they get opportunity they comment about its DNA and culture. They also call it BIMARU (laggard)."
Demanding that Modi take back his DNA remark, Kumar said, "This is the place from where Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and Aryabhatta came... My DNA is the same DNA."
Speaking at a BJP rally in Muzaffarpur some time ago, Modi had said, "There seems to be some problem with his (Kumar's) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy you respect even your political rivals." The remark had provoked anger from Kumar, whose party JD(U) launched a 'Sabdhwapsi' (take back your words) campaign against Modi.