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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Bihar trust vote debate comes alive as a feisty Tejashwi Yadav goes after ‘uncle’ Nitish

Yadav, son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and head of the 80-member RJD legislature party, slammed CM Kumar for ‘insulting’ the mandate given by the people to the grand alliance, in the 2015 Bihar assembly poll.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2017 21:20 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav after the trust vote in Bihar assembly, in Patna on Friday.
RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav after the trust vote in Bihar assembly, in Patna on Friday. (AP Dube/HT photo)

Leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, on Friday, accused chief minister Nitish Kumar of conspiring to defame him at a young age as a ploy for jettisoning the grand alliance (GA) and switching sides to form a new government with the BJP led NDA.

Yadav, 28, son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and head of the 80-member RJD legislature party in the assembly, also slammed CM Kumar for insulting the mandate given by the people in the 2015 Bihar assembly poll, which was won by the RJD-JD (U)-Congress alliance.

Tejashwi was deputy CM under Kumar for 20 months before he lost his job when Kumar resigned on Wednesday as chief minister of a GA government and formed a new one with the BJP-led NDA, on Thursday.

Speaking against the motion of confidence in his new government, moved by Kumar in the state assembly, Tejashwi said the CBI FIR against him in the ‘land for railways hotels’ scam was stage managed to spoil his image and allow a new JD(U)-BJP alliance to take shape.

Tejashwi was named in an FIR filed by the CBI earlier this month as a beneficiary of land given by a private party in lieu of acquiring leases for railways’ hotels at Ranchi and Puri, during his father, Lalu Prasad’s tenure as railways minister (2004-09).

“I am a 28 year old who cannot be charged with any impropriety as a deputy CM. But I was used as a pawn by you (read Nitish). Nitishji, you had long ago made up your mind to go with the BJP. The demand for my resignation over the CBI FIR was mere drama,” he said, amid thunderous applause from the opposition benches.

Tejashwi blamed the CM for what he called a “waste of four precious years of Bihar”.

“In the last four years, Bihar has seen four governments just to suit the whims of an individual (Nitish Kumar),” he added, even as he called the new JD(U)-BJP alliance “a coalition shaped through manipulation and fraud”.

Extolling his own ‘clean image’ as a minister, Tejashwi said he had blocked avenues of corruption. “Where did I go wrong, tell me,” he asked.

In the same vein, he rebutted the charge that RJD chief Lalu Prasad had smothered the grand alliance out of love for his son (Putra Moh) by not allowing Tejashwi to resign as deputy CM despite JD (U)’s pressure.

“The GA has not withered due to Putra Moh. It has broken because of Bhai Moh,” he said, implying that CM Kumar had staged the switch over to BJP because of his long association with the saffron party, which he severed in 2013.

The RJD leader said the JD (U)-BJP alliance government, sworn in on Thursday, was an insult to the sentiments of backwards, minorities and other weaker sections who had voted for the grand alliance in the 2015 poll. “This is murder of democracy,” he said.

He also attacked the BJP, saying, “You have forgotten, that despite you having 91 legislators, you were thrown out of government just like a fly out of milk. You were not charged with corruption and were still treated so shabbily. Yet, you are back breaking bread at the same table”.

On the demand for his resignation, following the CBI FIR against him, the Yadav scion said he was under the impression that CM Kumar was not keen on his resignation as he never did ask for it. “I had asked the CM as to what clarification he needed on the FIR and was ready with my reply,” he said.

In his 45 minute speech, Tejashwi called CM Kumar’s policy of zero tolerance of corruption a ‘farce’, asking why he had joined hands with his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, in 2015, despite knowing well that he was convicted in a fodder scam case.

Tejashwi asked whether CM Kumar and PM Narendra Modi had taken any decision on framing a law under which any politician holding a constitutional post would have to resign if an FIR was registered against him/her.

“You have an FIR in which grave charges under 302 have been applied. Even Sushil Modi has a FIR under section 420, similar to the one against me. So, how is that both of you are now holding top posts?” he asked, evoking strong protests from the JD (U) and BJP members.

The RJD leader also took a dig at CM’s Kumar initiative to popularise Gandhian principles, saying that it was a farce as the JD (U) president had joined hands with the forces that killed him, referring to Nathuram Godse.

He also dared CM Kumar to show if he had taken a commitment from BJP to accord special status to Bihar or impose prohibition in the entire country, as he had often raised these issues, when he was in the grand alliance.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 21:20 IST