Bihar polls: Unemployment, ‘corporatisation of agriculture’, handling of COVID pandemic key issues, says Tejashwi Yadav

By: |
September 20, 2020 3:47 PM

The term of the Bihar assembly ends on November 29 and elections are likely to be held sometime in October-November.

Yadav asserted that unemployment was the most critical challenge the country and Bihar in particular should address.Yadav asserted that unemployment was the most critical challenge the country and Bihar in particular should address.

With the Centre rolling out a slew of development projects for Bihar ahead of the Assembly polls, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said “grandiose PR exercises” are a poor substitute for governance, and the real issues in the elections would be unemployment, “corporatisation of agriculture” and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview to PTI, Yadav also asserted that it is “undisputed and settled” that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is the “natural leader of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance)” and seat sharing will be settled soon.

Hitting out at the Modi government over the issue of the three farm bills, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly said that the RJD has always fought for the rights of farmers and will fight “tooth and nail” against this “corporatisation of the agriculture sector”.

“These bills will strip farmers of their financial security net which has been safeguarded by provisions like public procurement and MSP (minimum support price),” Yadav said.

Why did a Union cabinet minister resign if the bills were not “anti-farmer”, he asked referring to Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal quitting the Cabinet last week over the farm bills issue.

The Opposition has been hitting out at the government over the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, alleging that they are anti-farmer, a claim the government has denied, stressing that they will be beneficial for the agriculture sector.

Asserting that his party will fight the Bihar polls on people’s issues, Yadav said this is going to be an election between “unemployed youths, pro-democracy and pro-Constitution forces versus an authoritarian, divisive and anti-constitution regime”.

“Bihar is the land of revolutionary political movements like the Champaran Satyagraha, and I am sure this election will be a watershed moment in the current political discourse plagued by authoritarianism,” the former Bihar deputy chief minister said.

Asked if the Sushant Singh Rajput case could be a poll issue with many leaders raising it, Yadav said, “We were the first to demand a CBI inquiry into Sushant’s death and now, since the investigation has begun, we shall have faith in it and wait for its results.”

“We never made it a political issue and it shouldn’t be one. The major problems and issues in Bihar are rising unemployment, corporatisation of agriculture, rampant corruption, crippled healthcare, deteriorating law and order, education, unchecked bureaucracy, among others,” he said.

Yadav said the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the treatment meted out to migrant labourers are also important issues.

Claiming that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has “failed miserably” on all these fronts in his nearly 15-year-long rule, Yadav said the RJD will ensure that poll issues are these real issues pertaining to the lives and future of the people of Bihari.

“Our state should not suffer due to shrewd deflection strategies of the BJP-JD(U),” the former deputy chief minister said.

On whether he would be the Opposition alliance’s chief ministerial candidate and the RJD’s standing in the ‘mahagathbandhan’, Yadav asserted that it is “undisputed and settled that the RJD is the natural leader of the mahagathbandhan and still the single largest party of the state”.

“I have been honestly discharging the responsibilities entrusted to me and shall be doing so in future too. At the moment, I am working tirelessly to oust the most corrupt and anti-people government of Bihar,” he said.

Yadav asserted that unemployment was the most critical challenge the country and Bihar in particular should address.

“Over 4.5 lakh posts are lying vacant since long and I assure the youth of Bihar that in the first cabinet meeting our government will initiate floating of these vacancies and the process will be completed within a stipulated time frame,” he said, adding that he would also bring in a ‘domicile policy’ in government jobs if voted to power.

Asked about the Centre rolling out a slew of development projects and schemes for Bihar, Yadav alleged that announcing projects on the eve of election to lure voters were “hallmarks” of both Chief Minister Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bihar wants to know the outcome and status of the 1.65 lakh crore package which Modi announced during his 2015 election campaign, the RJD leader said.

“Biharis know who are the best ‘overrated salesmen’, high on promises and low on delivery. What happened to the promise of special status to Bihar,” he said.

“Grandiose PR (public relations) exercises are a poor substitute for governance. Nitish ji cannot cheat Bihar again, ‘kaath ki haandi baar baar nahi chadhti’,” Yadav said.

Asked about the Lok Jan Shakti party chief Chirag Paswan’s jibes at Nitish Kumar and JD(U), Yadav said he would not comment as it’s NDA’s business, but added that people are observing how an NDA ally is questioning their own government, its policies and echoing opposition’s voice.

Attacking Nitish Kumar, Yadav said his ‘sushasan’ (good governance) was a “hoax” and talk of ‘vikas’ (development), a “delusion”.

“If Nitish Kumar is proud of his achievements why doesn’t he fight alone? I can write on a piece of paper, he can’t fight alone and win seats in double digits,” Yadav said.

The term of the Bihar assembly ends on November 29 and elections are likely to be held sometime in October-November.

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