Tejashwi: Lalu stopped Advani's rath, Nitish will stop Modi's
RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday (June 8) claimed that the states ruling Mahagathbandhan led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would stop Narendra Modi’s “chariot” like his father Lalu Prasad had halted Advani’s ‘rath yatra’.
Prominent leaders including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AAP boss Arvind Kejriwal are expected to attend the mega Opposition meet called in Patna by the Bihar chief minister on June 23.
Tejashwi said the opposition parties were coming together to defeat the ruling BJP at the Centre, which he accused of “failing to fulfil promises” made in the past and “raising the Hindu versus Muslim binary whenever its shortcomings were pointed out”.
‘When Lalu, Nitish are there, nobody can dare…’
He made the remarks in a hard-hitting speech delivered at a function organised by the states handloom weavers’ cooperative union, where he also underscored “the country belongs to all communities and no social group can be deprived of its rights”.
“Be it Hindus, Muslims or any other religious community, all had fought for the country’s Independence,” Tejashwi said, adding that “we hear outrageous remarks from some quarters, suggesting that Muslims be deprived of their voting rights”.
“But rest assured, as long as leaders like Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar are around, nobody can dare do anything of the sort… The country is not the property of anybody’s father,” he said.
“Lalu had stopped the rath (chariot) of L K Advani. Now, the Mahagathbandhan, led by Nitish Kumar, will stop the rath of (Narendra Modi),” Tejashwi added.
Referring to Kumar’s opposition unity drive on June 23, the deputy chief minister said they were trying to ensure that Congress and regional parties come together.
‘Country will be ruined if BJP returns to power’
“If these people (BJP) return to power, this country will be ruined,” he said.
He alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was making attempts to rewrite the history of the country.
“It seems as if a dictator is in the seat of power and we are compelled to obey his commands. The Constitution is being tinkered with. Nothing worthwhile has been achieved,” he said.
Stating that while promises were made by those in power like two crore jobs, ₹15 lakh in every bank account, doubling of farmers incomes by 2022, none of these was fulfilled. “When we raise questions on these failed promises, they try to divert public attention by talking about Hindus versus Muslims, temples versus mosques,” the RJD leader said.
Later, talking to reporters, he expressed delight over Bihar being all set to play yet another historic role when leaders of different opposition parties will converge here as part of the fight against the BJP in Lok Sabha polls.
“I had accompanied Nitish Kumar when he called on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata. She had exhorted us to take the lead, invoking the legacy of Jayaprakash Narayan,” he said.
Asked about the BJP’s plans to hold a rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bihar in an apparent bid to neutralise the tempo generated by the opposition conclave, Tejashwi said,
“Everybody is free to visit any part of the country. But I wonder when the prime minister comes here, would he announce grant of special status to the state.”
‘BJP scared of Lok Sabha polls’
“As a matter of fact, the BJP is scared of facing the Lok Sabha polls next year. Not for nothing has Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Bihar so many times ever since his party lost power here,” he claimed.
Earlier in the day, while talking to reporters outside the regional passport office which he visited to get travel documents made for his three-month-old daughter, Tejashwi also predicted a series of defeats for the BJP in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where assembly polls are due later this year.
The deputy chief minister, who holds the road construction portfolio, bristled when he was asked about the BJP’s demand for a CBI inquiry into the recent collapse of a portion of a bridge over the river Ganges.
“I do not want to engage in politics over the issue. Appropriate action will be taken. But I would like to know why did the BJP not get a CBI inquiry ordered last year when another portion of the bridge had caved in. The party was then sharing power in the state and one of its leaders was road construction minister,” said the RJD leader.
(With inputs from agencies)