Lalu just a vote katua, I seek votes for myself: Pappu Yadav

Pappu Yadav has floated his own Jan Adhikar Party and is in touch with the Samajwadi Party-NCP alliance for seats.

bihar elections, pappu yadav, lalu prasad yadav, nitish kumar, pappu yadav party, pappu yadav bihar elections, jan adhikar party, jan adhikar party bihar, bihar jan adhikar party, bihar news, pappu yadav interview, indian express Pappu Yadav (Express Photo by Abantika Ghosh)

On the Lok Sabha website, his name still features as an RJD MP but Rajesh Ranjan, better known as Pappu Yadav, has floated his own Jan Adhikar Party and is in touch with the Samajwadi Party-NCP alliance for seats. In this interview, he talks about his poll plans.

Why do you want to ally with the Samajwadi Party-NCP?

I have been associated with Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) from my childhood. I have been the Samajwadi Party MP from Purnea, I used to go to meet Kiranmoy Nanda in Kolkata when he was a minister in the Left Front. I was SP state president in Bihar in the early 1990s.

How many seats do you want to fight?

At least 100 seats. I am prepared to contest 125 but 100 is the minimum. My manifesto is ready. Lalu Prasad is just a vote katua (one who cuts into others’ votes). I am asking for votes for myself.

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Why the decision to fight the elections?

For me Bihar comes first. There are 6,33,000 beggar families. The two of you [JD(U) and RJD] were in power for 25 years, for 17 years you were part of the central government, for five years you were railways minister, for 2½ years you were kingmaker — why couldn’t you change that? One in three people is landless in Bihar, who stopped you from changing that? Laluji and Nitishji both have buried the report that would have ensured land for the landless. Nitishji talks about equal education, why hasn’t that happened? The economic revolution started from Magadh and today most Naxals are there, poor people forced to take up arms. The Amirdas Committee report that dealt with the role of MPs, MLAs etc in riots was buried by Nitish Kumar at the behest of his then alliance partner BJP.

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Nitish Kumar claims to have changed a lot of things in Bihar.

What has he done? There is no middle school in 5,400 villages. I challenge Nitish on law & order and development, where does he want to accept it? He does not let cases be registered in police stations. What development has happened? He said the number of girls in school has increased from 1.5-2 lakh to 7 lakh. I ask him how many girls study beyond class X. Eighty-seven per cent stop studying before IX, Nitishji. He has not set up any girls’ hostels.

What did the RJD do? You are an RJD MP.

I was never with them. I am an independent MP. I have always been calling their bluff even when I was with them.
There is a feeling that this SP-NCP alliance will split Muslim votes and help the BJP.

Lalu had said on the floor of the House that RSS is best, he accused the Congress of harassing the BJP. He has taken support of 39 BJP MLAs during his first term as chief minister. He is the one who distorted findings of the report on the Bhagalpur riots and said Muslims had caused the riots. He accused two men, Sallan Miyan and Ansari. He is the one who bothered Muslims the most. Nitish watched in Forbesganj. The first person to pitch Narendra Modi for prime minister was Nitish. Tell me why hasn’t a single riot-affected Muslim from Bhagalpur been given compensation? Are Muslims their fiefdom? Why hasn’t Nitish Kumar implemented the Sachar Committee recommendations? The RSS is better than these people; with them you see what you get. These people back-stab Muslims. If there is one man with whom Muslims in Bihar have a real connection, it is Pappu Yadav. When there were riots in Kishanganj, I saved people at risk to my own safety. I saved people from riots in Araria.

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The grand alliance is trying to woo Dalits too. What is your take?

If there is one big enemy of Dalits, it is Lalu and Nitish. They tried to finish Dalit leaders like Ramvilas Paswan, Chhedi Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi. It is a different matter that their politics has not resulted in any elevation of Dalits; Dalits’ position has remained the same since Independence. If our government comes I will end collector raj, prohibit alcohol in 72 hours, will implement the Clinical (Establishment) Act. We will end coaching. I will implement the Sachar Committee report in six months.