Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav on Monday praised the Election Commission, saying it had done an exemplary job under trying circumstances. Amid reports suggesting he was being wooed by the BJP, Yadav also said he was going to Varanasi but not to campaign against any candidate.
Narendra Modi is the BJP nominee in Varanasi.
Yadav batted for EC while reacting to Modi’s charge that the poll panel failed to check rigging in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
“Such complaints come from parties that believe they are losing. Now they have come down to the ground,” he said, referring to BJP’s claim that it was doing very well in the ongoing elections.
Yadav also rejected RJD president Lalu Prasad’s charge that his wife and party’s Saran nominee Rabri Devi’s vehicle was wrongly stopped (on Sunday) for checking when it was on its way from Chapra to Patna.
“My vehicles, too, were checked and two cases were registered against me (for poll code violation) but that’s the way it is,” said the JD-U chief and party nominee for the Madhepura seat, where polling was held on April 30.
Prasad had cried foul over the checking of the vehicle, describing it as a move to ‘humiliate’ Rabri Devi. The RJD chief was also reported to have ‘threatened’ the policemen who stopped the vehicle.
Insisting that the EC was doing a great job of conducting a fair election under trying circumstances, Yadav said he strongly condemned any attempt to criticize or belittle the commission. “It is the government for the duration of the elections and everybody should co-operate with it,” he said before leaving for Varanasi in east UP.
“I’ll speak there from the platform of Nagrik Manch (citizen’s forum) on the issues facing the country. I am not going there for or against any particular candidate,” said Yadav, hinting that he did not intend to target Modi.
This may be music to the ears of the BJP leadership as reports had earlier suggested Yadav was going to Varanasi to canvass for Aam Aadmi Party nominee Arvind Kejriwal. Earlier, BJP leader Ananth Kumar heaped praises on Yadav while former Bihar minister Ashwini Choubey invited him to join the BJP.
Yadav was also seen talking to Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey at the Patna airport on Sunday and party spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain the day before.
The JD-U chief has been in the news after reportedly criticising both Prasad and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, his party colleague, for their alleged “casteist” approach. He was said to have made this remark during his election meetings in north Bihar last week. On Sunday, he reportedly advised Nitish to do politics of ‘jamaat’ or the larger community of people.