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Not arithmetic, chemistry with people will work in Bihar: Tejashwi Yadav

Tejashwi said the decision of Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal(United) to join the BJP was a good omen for the grand alliance as a lot of water had flown down the Ganga in the last five years

india Updated: Dec 27, 2018 17:42 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Tejashwi Yadav,Bihar,Nitish Kumar
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is confident the poll calculations that helped the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the past will be of no use to them anymore.(PTI)

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is confident the poll calculations that helped the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the past will be of no use to them anymore.

There has been a sea change, he said, in the people’s perception against both the state and the central dispensation, which will work for the mahagathbandhan or the grand alliance in the state.

The mahagathbandhan is a coalition of political parties in Bihar including his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, Jitan Ram Majhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S), Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal, Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

“If the NDA could get euphoric on vote share in the 2009 or 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it is their choice. We can also count on 1990s. But arithmetic does not always work, chemistry certainly does in a democracy. People have been fed up with the central and state policies and the impact will spoil all their arithmetic,” he said while speaking to the Hindustan Times.

Tejashwi, the younger son of Lalu Prasad, talked more numbers to buttress his point.

“In 2014, despite the so-called Modi wave, RJD lost eight to ten seats by a margin of fewer than 40,000 votes. At that time, JD(U) contested alone and may have cornered some minority votes, but that will be sheer wishful thinking now. The Scheduled Caste and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) are also disenchanted, as are the forward classes,” he said.

Tejashwi said the decision of Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal(United) to join the BJP was a good omen for the grand alliance as a lot of water had flown down the Ganga in the last five years.

The JD(U) had contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls alone ending its 17-year-old alliance with the NDA over the nomination of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. Following its poor performance, it forged the ‘mahagathbandhan’ with the RJD and the Congress and the alliance achieved a handsome victory in the Bihar assembly polls in 2015. Kumar walked out of the alliance last year following corruption allegations against Tejashwi, his then deputy, and then stitched a new alliance with the BJP. Since then, the JD(U) has exited the alliance and is now part of the BJP-led NDA.

“We are happy JD(U) is with the BJP. Had it joined GA, it would have asked for as many seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the JD(U) performed miserably in 135 assembly segments, but in 2015 assembly polls we still gave it 100 seats only to see the mandate being stolen by a smaller party in connivance with the BJP. People have not forgotten this,” he added.

He said that the BJP’s climb down to give JD(U) 17 seats meant it would sacrifice its five sitting members of Parliament, which in turn reflected the shaken confidence and an early realisation that there would be no Modi wave this time. “What will the sitting MPs do? Just keep watching,” he said.

The leader of opposition in Bihar assembly said issues like the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, faulty sand mining policy, “home delivery of liquor” despite prohibition and that of the farmers and youth are “enough to upset all calculations of the ruling dispensation”.

“People will ask about the special status and special package? The double-engine will have to answer them. Calculations on paper don’t matter. I am talking about the sentiments on the ground. Imagine a prominent businessman gets killed and he asks me if he should leave the state,” he said.

Tejashwi also took a jibe on a remark by the leaders of the NDA that the RJD’s legacy of ‘jungle raj’ would work in their favour.

“If that was the case, what prompted JD(U) to join hands with the RJD in the 2015 assembly polls. During the RJD regime, there was propaganda about jungle raj in the media to build perception against Lalu Prasad,” he said referring to his father.

“Today, the reality is worse, which reflects through crime data, but it is being played down. The general perception in the society is that law and order has got worse. The Supreme Court is scolding the government like never before,” he said.

“Minors got raped in government-funded shelter homes. Businessmen and political leaders are getting killed and if there is still ‘good governance’ in the government’s eye, it is their way of looking at it. Ask the people to get the answer.”

Strong RJD will help Cong

Tejashwi ruled out that there was any problem in the seat-sharing arrangement within the grand alliance due to the number of claimants and growing ambition of the smaller parties.

“In seat allocation, there will be only one yardstick – winnability. GA has to strive for winning maximum seats. Individual aspirations will not matter much,” he said.

“Every seat will count and go to a candidate with the potential of winning to save the country and the Constitution. Wherever one is strong will get weightage,” he said adding GA was an inclusive alliance of like-minded parties and was open to more progressive people coming to its fold.

On the demand of some Congress leaders that they would like a respectable share of seats in the state, Tejashwi said mutual respect was the cornerstone of the alliance and that also required mutual understanding.

“It is not an issue. If the RJD does well and gets more seats, everyone knows whose claim to the Prime Minister post will strengthen. Therefore, our focus is only on winnability and we will work hard together to stop the NDA,” he said.

He said that seat-sharing talks would gather momentum in January and would be amicably resolved.

“The candidate with the highest potential will fight in each constituency. Some big names are also approaching us. People are fed up with false promises. They don’t want to be taken for a ride yet again,” he added.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 17:40 IST