SENIOR JD(U) leader K C Tyagi Thursday campaigned for Dimple Yadav, contesting on the Samajwadi Party ticket from the late Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Mainpuri constituency in Uttar Pradesh, saying he had come bearing the message of party leader Nitish Kumar and of “Opposition unity”.
Since ditching the BJP to align with the RJD in August, and making clear his ambitions for a national role, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has met several leaders across parties, including Rahul Gandhi and Telengana CM K Chandrashekar Rao. He had also met Mulayam before his death, and has been trying hard to win over his heir apparent and SP president, Akhilesh Yadav.
Sources said Nitish will restart his bid to gather Opposition parties on a common platform soon.
Speaking at Jaswant Nagar, an Assembly segment under the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, Thursday, Tyagi, the JD(U) principal national general secretary, said: “I am carrying the message of Nitish Kumar. We can see a great sample of Opposition unity here as no regional party or national party (barring the BJP) has fielded a candidate against Dimple Yadav.”
He also called upon the people to strengthen Akhilesh’s hands, since they had denied him power in the recent Assembly elections. “Remember, how after Mulayam Singh Yadav lost the Assembly polls in the mid-1990s, he moved to the Centre and became the Union defence minister,” Tyagi said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the JD(U) leader said: “What I said is part of our ‘Mission Nitish 2024’. Akhilesh surely has a big role to play in national politics in 2024.”
Tyagi also said Opposition unity seemed to be taking shape not only in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll in UP, but also the Ramnagar and Khatauli by-elections, where SP-RLD candidates are the only ones in the fray against the BJP.
The JD(U) leader added that Nitish, who had met Akhilesh and his family after Mulayam’s death, had also done his bit to repair the friction within the larger Yadav clan.
Similarly, Nitish had counselled former Haryana CM and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala to bring family members, some of whom are aligned with the BJP, together. “We are looking at family unity, party unity and national unity,” Tyagi said.
A Bihar JD(U) leader repeated that there was no question of raising who the Opposition face would be, at this stage. “Even if Nitish is playing an important role in stitching together Opposition parties, it is not about pitching any individual. First, we want a strong anti-BJP forum, with the Congress at its core.”
Having Akhilesh on his side is also politically beneficial for Nitish, given the contiguity between neighbours UP and Bihar.