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Tejashwi Yadav set for ‘Gandhi’ yatra, hopes to lend edge to his campaign against Nitish

Yadav’s ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’ from Motihari in East Champaran, on August 9, will send out the message that Kumar repudiated a mandate for the grand alliance to form a new government with the BJP.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2017 19:17 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Tejashwi Yadav,Janadesh Apman Yatra,Motihari
CM Nitish Kumar with his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, when the grand alliance government was in office in Bihar. (HT file photo)

PATNA It’s ‘Yatra time’ for RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who last month lost his position of deputy chief minister when Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister, leading to the fall of the 20-month-old grand alliance government in Bihar.

Tejashwi will set out on his ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’ from Motihari in East Champaran, on August 9, to disseminate his message that Kumar had renounced the big mandate received by the ‘grand alliance’ by taking his party, the JD (U) out of it and forming a new government with the BJP.

The choice of Motihari as the starting point of the yatra is purportedly to rekindle the memory of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, which started from this place.

Through the yatra, Tejashwi will seek ‘forgiveness’ from the people for accompanying Nitish on a 7-km-long padyatra, last April, as part of the centenary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran satyagrah of 1917.

Tejashwi’s yatra will have all the elements of a ‘satyagraha’ – including a prayer meeting near Gandhi’s statue and bhajan singing, followed by public meetings.

“Between August 9 and 10, he will be covering five districts, namrly, West and East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarppur,” said RJD spokesperson Pragati Mehta.

Other RJD sources said, besides targeting Kumar for ‘betraying’ the grand alliance, Tejashwi will also solicit the people’s support for the RJD’s ‘BJP bhagao, desh bachao’ rally at Patna on August, to which top opposition leaders have been invited.

By undertaking the yatra from Champaran, Tejashwi will emulate many top leaders. Former prime minister Chandrashekhar, prior to becoming PM in 1990, undertook one such yatra from Bhitiharwa, the place where Gandhiji established an ashram.

Tejashwi’s father, Lalu Prasad, undertook a yatra in 2012 from Bettiah to demand central universities at Motihari and Gaya.

Again, CM Kumar undertook his Nyay Yatrain 2005, Sewa Yatra in 2011, Adhikar Yatra in 2012 and Sampark Yatra in 2014. Kumar also started his Vikas yatra in 2011 and Nischay Yatra of the Grand Alliance in 2016 from Bettiah, too.

The ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’ will provide Tejashwi an opportunity to showcase his leadership qualities in the absence of his father, who is busy appearing in a Ranchi CBI court in connection with fodder scam cases.

“I am crying out to be a part of the people-centric engagement”, his father Lalu Prasad said.

“I am keen to go to people to tell them how Nitish Kumar betrayed their mandate for the Grand Alliance, but am unable to as I have to regularly appear before the court,” Lalu Prasad told media.

“Tejashwi Yadav will tell the people about the betrayal of Nitish Kumar. Tejashwi Yadav is going to the people and he will also invite people to attend the RJD’s August 27 rally in Patna against the BJP,” he added.

The Yatra is a lead off to the opposition rally in Patna on August 27, which will be an opportunity to gauge the Opposition unity index ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Politicians give Bhitiharwa a miss

Though most of politicians swear by the name of Gandhi, his ideology and principles, no one cares to visit Gandhi Ashram at Bhitiharwa to pay their tributes, when starting a political campaign or during elections.

Top political personalities like prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had addressed public rallies in West Champaran during elections in the past, but no one took time off to visit the ashram.

REASON: Superstition. It is believed that those making promises after visiting the ashram are bound to meet with political debacle if they don’t keep their word.

While politicians avoid the ashram during electioneering, they do keep coming here during non-election time. The list of political visitors is long and unending. It includes former Prime Minister Chandrasekhar, George Fernandes, Rahul Gandhi, Ramvilas Paswan, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Uma Bharti, Oscar Fernandes Yashwant Sinha, Ajit Singh, etc.

(With agency input)

First Published: Aug 07, 2017 18:41 IST