Bihar Assembly election: RJD’s Tejashwi draws huge crowds, CM Nitish Kumar hits back
In rally after rally, Yadav – who is also the lead campaigner for the Opposition Grand Alliance –repeated his promise of generating more jobs if elected to power and attacked Kumar for a stalled economy and unemployment -- to loud cheers from the crowds.Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 07:53 IST
An election pledge by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Tejashwi Yadav to generate one million jobs if elected to power took centre stage in poll-bound Bihar on Wednesday with chief minister Nitish Kumar saying the source of the funds for the scheme was not clear.
In rally after rally, Yadav – who is also the lead campaigner for the Opposition Grand Alliance –repeated his promise of generating more jobs if elected to power and attacked Kumar for a stalled economy and unemployment -- to loud cheers from the crowds.
“Nitish Kumar is exhausted physically and mentally. Instead of questioning the source of funds, he should answer the people about the scams under his administration,” Yadav said.
Kumar rejected the allegations and reminded people of the rule of “husband and wife” – a reference to Yadav’s father Lalu Prasad and mother Rabri Devi, who were in power from 1990 to 2005. “Crime was at its peak and massacres were rampant 15 year ago.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders -- while acknowledging the huge numbers at Yadav’s rallies -- said numbers in a rally may not translate to votes.
“People are flocking in to see him as they used to during Lalu Prasad’s rally ...whether this crowd translates into vote remains to be seen. There is no comparison between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Definitely there will be huge crowd as people admire the PM,” said Prem Ranjan Patel, BJP spokesperson.
On Wednesday, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh hit the campaign trail even as Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan addressed his first rally in the poll-bound state and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath attacked the Opposition.
Addressing rallies in Bhabua, Ara and Bhagalpur, Singh criticised Pakistan for atrocities on Hindu, Sikh, Christian and other minorities. “But here in India, we have given equal rights and rule of law to our minorities. We brought the law against inhuman triple talaq to end centuries old sufferings of Muslim women,” he said.
Paswan held a rally and road show in Paliganj, where BJP rebel candidate Usha Vidyarthi is contesting on a LJP ticket. The LJP is fighting the assembly election on its own though it remains a part of the NDA at the Centre.
He dared chief minister Nitish Kumar to contest elections on his own. “There is huge anger against the chief minister...CM has no plans for youth. He says not everyone can get government jobs, while the government has not been able to bring industries to the state on the pretext that Bihar is a landlocked state.”
The three-phase assembly elections begin on October 28, when 71 seats go the polls. The campaign has been dominated by a fierce exchange between Kumar and RJD’s Yadav over the latter’s promise of one million jobs. The CM has questioned where the money for these jobs would come from, while Yadav has blamed the current government for stalling the economy.
Congress leaders Raj Babbar and Shaktisinh Gohil campaigned for the party candidate at Tekari and Amarpur.
Addressing a rally, Babbar accused the CM of “ditching” the youth, adding that during his tenure the government could have easily given 4.5 lakh government jobs to the youth.
At Jamui, Adityanath hit out at All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asauddin Owaisi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying the end to Jammu & Kashmir’s special status has caused the two pain. “Only two people Owaisi and Rahul Gandhi praise Pakistan. They cannot think about the welfare of the nation,” he said.
BJP chief JP Nadda and Nitish Kumar addressed rallies in Bihar’s Champaran region, blaming the Opposition and said Bihar underwent a change during NDA rule.
In Kesariya, Kumar also attacked his arch rival Lalu Prasad, and said the ‘husband and wife’ -- a reference to Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi -- worked for themselves for 15 years.
“Crime was at its peak and massacres were rampant 15 year ago....We changed the atmosphere and there is a rule of law and justice in the state now,” said Kumar.
At another rally in Parsa, Kumar’s speech was repeatedly disrupted by Prasad’s supporters. “Do not make a nuisance. If you don’t want to vote then don’t. By doing this, you will do harm to the person for whom you’re here,” an angry Kumar said.