Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Tejashwi Yadav said being a chief ministerial candidate is not an entitlement but a responsibility to transform Bihar by utilising its potential.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has made it clear that the party is in no mood to budge on his projection as the chief ministerial face of the Grand Alliance for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar. In an interview to The Indian Express, Tejashwi played down reports claiming that his projection as the CM has miffed smaller constituents of the grand alliance comprising RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM and VIP.
Barring RJD, all the four other constituents have openly expressed reservations over Tejashwi being projected as the opposition’s CM face and called for a change, a demand categorically turned down by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party. Tejashwi is the son of jailed RJD chief Lalu. This would be the first election in Bihar when Lalu will be missing in action and Tejashwi will lead the party.
“Let me put it straight that it is not monarchy that I decided to name myself… our support base and cadre made continuous representation over the last two years to the central leadership of the party. Wouldn’t it be unfair to the sentiments?” he asked.
For him, he said, being a chief ministerial candidate is not an entitlement but a responsibility to transform Bihar by utilising its potential.
Tejashwi Yadav served as the deputy CM of Bihar for 18 months in the Mahagathbandhan government which was headed by Nitish Kumar. He is currently the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
The RJD now heads an alliance of 5 political parties and the party has declared Tejashwi as the CM face of the grand alliance. However, its alliance partners have said that the leadership issue remains unresolved and expressed unwillingness to enter the poll fray under his leadership.
HAM president Jitam Ram Manjhi has opened up a front against Tejashwi, demanding that a coordination committee be set up to de ide the Chief ministerial face of the alliance. He has even issued an ultimatum that he may choose his own path if his demands are not taken into consideration. RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha and VIP chief Mukesh Sahani too have reservations over Tejashwi. The Congress has also dropped hints that it was not on the same page with the RJD.
When Tejashwi was asked if it was non-negotiable, he replied, “Obviously, RJD is the single largest party. We have most of the vote bank, if you look percentage wise.”
The grand alliance had contested the 2019 general elections under Tejashwi’s Leadership but couldn’t deliver the results. The alliance won just 1 of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar. Since then, there have been growing demands for a change. Tejashwi’s repeated sabbaticals during times of crisis haven’t helped his bid either.
To a question on whether he will reach out to LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan who is said to be unhappy with Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi said “I consider these developments as exclusively within the domain of NDA camp and would not like to comment on it as of now.”
Replying to the charge that RJD is casteist and promotes Muslim-Yadav at the expense of others, Tejashwi said that the all these are propaganda and his party believed in giving opportunity to everyone.
“After the coalition, obviously we could not contest in all the seats and our ability to fully adhere to social composition became limited…but we have tried to give representation to all…,” he said and went on to allege that instead Nitish Kumar is casteist.
He said, “If you look at Nitishji, all their leaders occupying key posts are from his community. If you look at recruitment, most have gone to one district and one caste…”
The RJD scion also asked why the JD(U) takes the debate back to 15 years during elections and suggested presenting the account of Nitish’s 15 years rule.
“Don’t talk about Akbar’s time or British time or Sher Shah Suri’s…talk about your rule …Nitishji used to say he will not compromise with three Cs —communalism, crime and corruption. And he has compromised on all…,” he said.
He also said that the state government has failed to respond effectively to the public health crisis and termed it as the colossal failure of Nitish Kumar. On migrants issue, he said that Bihar was the only state from where the government didn’t bother to bring them back safely and created all obstacles to not allow our own people to get back home.
“The government of the day has to pay the price…This is going to be a major issue in the election,” he said.