Days after RJD leader and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, announced that he would embark on a ‘Berozgari Yatra’ across the state to demand for jobs to youth in the state, the ruling JD(U) on Saturday accused the opposition party of defrauding “a gullible supporter” from the economically-backward class to get a swanky bus — proposed to be used in the yatra — registered in his name.
The bus in question was parked outside Tejashwi’s residence on Saturday. The opposition party denied any knowledge of the matter but said they had hired the bus for the yatra.
Soon after the JD(U) made its allegations, the “bus owner” — Mangal Pal — said former RJD MLA Anirudh Prasad Yadav had got the bus registered in his name with a “promise of political favours”.
According to records of the Bihar Transport Department, on November 29, 2019, the bus was registered in the name of Pal — a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holder since February 20, 2008.
JD (U) spokesperson and Information and Public Relations Minister Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express: “When we accessed the papers of the bus, we were astounded to find that the owner was Mangal Pal from Hidayatpur village of Bakhtiyarpur block of Patna. It is not about ownership of the bus, but the very mindset of the RJD using poor people for its political gains.”
Kumar alleged that RJD national president Lalu Prasad’s family had “promised political benefits to Mangal Pal in lieu of the favour… The RJD had followed similar method by duping poor people by getting land plots registered in their names and later getting it transferred in the names of Lalu family members.”
Admitting that the bus was registered in his name, Pal said, “A former RJD MLA had got the bus registered in my name… I do whatever he asks me to do.” He named Anirudh Prasad Yadav, who confirmed that he had got the bus registered in Pal’s name.
The RJD, however, did not respond specifically to the ruling party’s allegations regarding the bus.
RJD state president Jagdanand Singh said: “JD (U) should appreciate that Tejashwi Yadav was going to take up the issue of unemployment during his upcoming political tour. JD (U) should discuss the real issues and not petty technical things.”
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewary said: “We have hired the bus and have not made any assurances to Pal. It is up to the government to find out how the man bought the hi-tech bus. JD (U) is not able to deliver on the count of governance, but has been picking up non-issues.”
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