Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav will begin a Janadesh Apman Yatra from Motihari on Wednesday to step up RJD’s attack on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for “betraying” the mandate for Grand Alliance and joining hands with the BJP. Besides Tejashwi’s yatra, JD(U) also faces a challenge closer home, as former party president Sharad Yadav, who has expressed displeasure with Nitish’s decision to leave the Grand Alliance, has decided to hold small meetings across the state from Thursday. Accompanied by brother Tej Pratap Yadav, Tejashwi left for Motihari on Tuesday. Before the siblings left, mother Rabri Devi applied tilak on their foreheads and father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad — both former chief ministers of Bihar — gave some tips to Tejashwi. Sources said Lalu has asked Tejashwi to refrain from personal attacks on Nitish and stay focused on the theme of “betrayal” of people’s mandate. The Grand Alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress won 178 of 243 seats in 2015.
“We are going to tell people the real story behind Nitish Kumar deserting the Grand Alliance. We will tell them how Nitish Kumar, who used to talk of Sangh-mukt Bharat ended up in the lap of BJP,” Tejashwi told the media. The former deputy CM — ties between JD(U) and RJD started straining during the row over his resignation — called Nitish a “rann-chhod” (one who flees the battlefield)”. Lalu said Tejashwi will establish direct contact with people during the yatra, which will build momentum for the RJD’s August 27 rally in Patna. On Wednesday, Tejashwi will start the first phase of his yatra by garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Motihari, East Champaran district headquarters. He will then address a rally at Madhopur, before leaving for Sheohar for a public meeting on Thursday. He will conclude the first leg of the yatra by addressing meetings at Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur on Friday.
The former deputy CM is not accompanied by veteran leaders, and has with him a team of young leaders and members of Dharmnirpeksh Sevak Sangh, an apolitical outfit launched by Tej Pratap. Asked about Tejashwi’s yatra, JD(U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh said: “No one will accept Tejashwi as a leader. Neither the people, nor senior RJD leaders can accept a rookie because Lalu Prasad’s politics revolves around his family”. Sharad Yadav is set to hold about 25 public interactions as part of his “Janta se seedha sanvad” (direct dialogue with people). On August 10, he will hold 10 meetings in Vaishali and Muzaffarpur. He is expected to hold 11 such interactions the following day. JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi said: “Our party is holding its national executive in Patna on August 19 and we expect the presence of former party president Sharad Yadav. The national executive is likely to endorse the decision (of joining hands with BJP) and we would also formally become part of NDA”. He did not comment on Yadav’s plan to hold public interactions.