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Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Need a PM like him’: Tejashwi Yadav endorses Rahul Gandhi at joint rally

Tejashwi Yadav praised Rahul Gandhi and said that the Congress president does what he says and the country needs a prime minister like him. Praising Congress’s NYAY scheme, he described it as a programme that had the potential to bring a turnaround in the country.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 26, 2019 20:57 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
rahul gandhi,tejashwi yadav,congress
On his part, Tejashwi slammed PM Modi referring to his politics as “put on” and accusing him of running a factory of lies.(ANI )

In a show of unity by the grand alliance, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday shared the stage with Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav for the first time in this election season, along with other coalition leaders, at Samastipur to canvass for Congress’s nominee Ashok Kumar from the reserved Samastipur parliamentary constituency, which will go to poll in the fourth phase on April 29.

In his speech, Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of only patronising fugitive businessmen, while neglecting the country’s poor classes, including farmers. He also spoke of the Congress’s NYAY scheme - the common income scheme - one of the party’s main poll promises of giving Rs 6,000 each month to poor families to eradicate poverty.

On his part, Tejashwi praised Gandhi and said that the Congress president does what he says and the country needs a prime minister like him. Praising Congress’s NYAY scheme, he described it as a programme that had the potential to bring a turnaround in the country.

“Bihar would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme. Total 25 crore families will benefit, including 5 crore women by getting Rs 6,000 in their account, which would translate to Rs 72,000 a year and Rs 3.60 lakh in five years. Has PM Modi given Rs 15 lakh? It cannot be given because it is not realistic,” Gandhi said.

He also asked the crowd whether they wanted a pro-poor government at the Centre or a capitalist-oriented government run by the BJP. In the same vein, he accused the PM Modi-led government at the Centre of allowing fugitive businessmen like Mehul Chowksi and Nirav Modi - who had defaulted on repayment of loans worth thousands of crores - to leave the country. “We will take back the money from these defaulters and give it to the poor,” he said.

In many ways, the Samastipur rally was significant as Gandhi and Tejashwi were seen together on a stage for the first time since the campaign kicked off in March end. The coming together of both the leaders is being seen as a deliberate move by the Mahagathbandhan to send across a message of unity among the allies and end speculation that the RJD-Congress ties had strained after the two parties had a virtual showdown regarding the allotment of the Darbhanga seat.

The seat had finally gone to the RJD leaving the Congress red-faced with its candidate and sitting Darbhanga MP, Kirti Azad, being shifted to the Dhanabad parliamentary seat. The Madhubani seat was also a bone of contention between the Congress and the RJD as the regional party, a senior ally in the grand alliance, opted to give the seat to the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). Congress’s senior leader and former minister Shakeel Ahmed is contesting from the seat as an independent, reflecting the contradictions within the grand alliance.

However, today, both Gandhi and Tejashwi shared a bonhomie on the stage. The Congress president, who started off his speech by speaking in Maithili, also took potshots at PM Modi saying that his slogan “Acche Din aayenge (good days will come)” during the 2014 poll season had fizzled out within two years of the BJP-led government’s tenure at the Centre and had been replaced with “Chowkidaar Chor hai”.

Gandhi also chanted the phrase several times during his speech, and each time got a loud applause. He also slammed the Centre for its demonetisation drive, saying it had inconvenienced millions of people.

The Samastipur seat has been a traditional seat of the party and this time, the contest is between the party’s candidate Ashok Kumar against sitting MP and LJP candidate Ram Chandra Paswan. In the 2014 elections, Paswan had won the seat by a margin of 6872 votes.

On his part, Tejashwi too slammed PM Modi referring to his politics as “put on” and accusing him of running a factory of lies.

The other prominent leaders on the stage were RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, Congress in-charge of Bihar Shakti Sinh Gohil, state president Madan Mohan, senior leaders Premchand Mishra and Akhilesh Prasad Singh. Madhubani’s grand alliance candidate Badrinath Purbe was also present.

First Published: Apr 26, 2019 20:31 IST

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