Updated: July 6, 2021 5:41:01 am
In his first public speech in over three years, RJD national president Lalu Prasad Yadav said the country had been “pushed backwards” under the NDA government, it was facing an economic crisis, and attempts were underway to destroy its social harmony.
Yadav, who is being treated at AIIMS in New Delhi after being released on bail, said he would return to Patna soon, and “register his presence” in every district of Bihar.
“Our country has been pushed backwards. Ek taraf aarthik sankat, doosri taraf samajik tana-bana ko khandit kiya ja raha hai. Kabhi-kabhi naare lag rahe hain, ki Ayodhya ke baad ab Mathura… (Slogans are being raised demanding action in Mathura after Ayodhya),” Yadav told RJD workers during a video address to celebrate 25 years of the party.
“What is the meaning of this?” he asked. “What do you (in 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.”
The future of the RJD was bright, and it would “take the country forward in the near future”, Yadav said. “There is Corona, but even more than that, this price rise, this unemployment, has broken people’s backs. This is not good for the country. Such poverty, such price rise…
“If the prices of petrol and diesel had increased in our time, people would have started walking, but here there is no accountability. When these things happened earlier, as Chief Minister I went to office on a cycle and gave a message. The late Biju Patnaik ji gave a message by going on a cycle, that ‘save us’. The entire burden (of the rise in prices) falls on the poor,” Yadav said.
The former Bihar Chief Minister recalled that the RJD’s political opponents called his rule “jungle raj”, as he reminded the cadre of the party’s struggle to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.
“During our tenure, marginalised people got the opportunity to go to the (polling) booth for the first time. We fought strongly… Now, no one can discriminate (against others). Aaj sabke liye khatiya, sabke liye kuan ka paani. Barabar roop se, chahe-anchahe, aaj log enjoy kar rahe hai. (Today there is a cot for everyone, the water of the well is for everyone, and whether or not it is liked, people are enjoying equal rights.)”
The RJD will not be step back from the struggle, and it will not be broken, Yadav said. “They (political opponents) 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 for generations.”
The RJD supremo spoke with his wife, former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, by his side, and their grandchildren often entered the frame. He was a little ill still, but he would soon recover, Yadav assured his audience.
“Only my diet needs to be taken care of. I will come to Patna very soon. I will register my presence in every district of Bihar. I will leave hospital very soon,” he said.
Yadav said he had been uneasy in jail during the campaign for the Bihar Assembly elections last year. “I am happy about (Bihar Leader of Opposition) Tejashwi (Yadav); he has wisdom, but I also heard the speech of (Tejashwi’s older brother) Tej Pratap Yadav. That speech had strength,” he said.
Tejashwi had exceeded his expectations, Yadav 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 said.
Tejashwi, who spoke from Patna just before his father, said “Laluji” was not just a person, but an idea.
“Laluji is not a name. Laluji is an idea and you cannot imprison that idea. With those ideas of social justice, secularism, equality, bringing forward the last person among the oppressed, defeating the rioters…,” he said.
“We made the real issues of Bihar our election issues. The people of Bihar, no matter which caste or class they belonged to, whether they were forwards, backwards, Dalits, Mahadalits, minorities, Extremely Backward Castes, they all voted with open hearts for Laluji and the RJD…”
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