RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who made his first public appearance after three years, on Monday said the country has been plagued by economic crisis while there are attempts to destroy its social harmony.
“Our country has been pushed backwards. Ek taraf aarthik sankat, doosri taraf samajik tana-bana ko khandit kiya jar aha hai. Kabhi kabi naare lag rahe hain, ki Ayodhya ke baa dab Mathura… (At one end there is economic crisis, while on the other there are attempts to break social harmony. There are slogans of heading to Mathura after Ayodhya),” he said addressing an event to mark 25 years of his party in Delhi.
“What is the meaning of this?…What do you (government) want in this country? That for power, destroy the people of this country? RJD workers wherever they are, must tell people to keep social harmony,” he said.
The 72-year-old who was recently released on bail from jail is being treated at AIIMS, Delhi and is said to be recovering at his daughter Misa Bharati’s house in the capital.
The RJD chief praised his son Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of opposition in Bihar, for keeping the party alive and preparing it for the assembly elections last year.
“Frankly, I had never expected this from him. He safely steered the RJD’s boat. RJD has a bright future,” Lalu said.
“At such a young age, in a state like Bihar, to navigate the waters, to get so many seats (in the Assembly), to do so many tours, I had not expected so much…And every leader of the party, every worker, has accepted Tejashwi Yadav. People have supported him,” he was quoted as saying.
He credited both Tejashwi and wife Rabri Devi for taking care of him and keeping him alive.
Lalu, who has been in jail since 2017 in the fodder scam case, is said to have been frequently in and out of the Rajendra Institute of Medical sciences hospital in Jharkhand due to his ill health. He was admitted to AIIMS in January after his health deteriorated.
The 72-year-old, who looked a lanky version of himself had a slurry speech and seemed to have lost his humour, a trademark associated with him.
Stating that he is still ill, Lalu promised he will return to Patna soon and “register my presence in every district of Bihar”.
Taking digs at the Narendra Modi government and the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, Lalu compared the times with his reign.
“During our tenure, marginalised people got the opportunity to go to the booth for the first time. We fought strongly…Now, no one can discriminate. Aaj sabke liye khatiya, sabke like kuan ka paani. Barabar roop se, chahe-anchahe, aaj log enjoy kar rahe hain (Today there is a cot for everyone, wells to provide water, and whether people like it or not, everyone is enjoying equal rights),” he said.
Referring to the dig of “Jungle Raj” often used by opponents against him, Lalu said, “They used to say ‘jungle raj’, ‘jungle raj’, because that was the raj of the poor. With the power of the people, I flipped what had been the norm of generations,” he said.