Visiting Delhi for the first time after the power shift in Patna, Bihar’s new Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of the Left parties – all are constituents of the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance – after which he said Bihar has shown the direction to the country by ousting the BJP from power.
As he met Sonia and exchanged pleasantries, sources in the Congress said the two parties are locked in hard bargaining over the number of ministerial berths in Bihar. The Congress is keen to have four ministers but the RJD, sources said, is reluctant to allow more than two from the Grand Alliance quota.
Bhakta Charan Das, AICC in charge of Bihar, swallowed his pride and called on RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who had lampooned him last year, and discussed ministry formation.
Tejashwi, meanwhile, met CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his CPI counterpart D Raja. He then drove to 10, Janpath to meet Sonia.
Emerging from the meeting, he said all of them congratulated the RJD for backing Nitish Kumar after he snapped ties with the BJP. He said Nitish had taken a timely decision and his move to walk out of the NDA was a “slap” on the face of the BJP.
“In the Bihar Assembly, all the political parties barring the BJP… all of us have come together. The same scene will now be seen in the country. People are fed up with price rise, unemployment, social and communal tension… those who want to rule the country by pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other… where our Constitution and democracy are in danger…. where attempts were made to destroy bhaichara… our Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb… Bihar has once again… shown a new direction to the country,” he said.
“And for that I thank the Chief Minister, Madam Sonia Gandhi, Yechury, Raja and Dipankar (Bhattacharya),” he said.
Attacking the BJP, he said the ruling party was destabilising elected governments. “What happened in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh… what was happening in Jharkhand… we have seen all that drama. ..jo darega usko darao, jo bikhega usko khareedo… This is what the BJP does. Our Constitutional institutions are being destroyed one by one, be it ED, CBI or Income Tax. They have become worse than a police station. And who are they trying to scare? We, the people of Bihar, are not the ones who will be scared. Bihari jo hota hai… bikau nahi, tikau hota hai… we don’t compromise with our self-respect,” he said.
Tejashwi said the BJP was out to finish regional parties. “Most of the regional parties are of backward classes and Dalits. And they wanted to finish Nitish Kumar who comes from the backward community. You broke Ram Vilasji’s party into two. You want to finish his politics. If regional parties are finished, then there will be no Opposition. And if there is no Opposition, there will be no democracy. And if there is no democracy, the country will be ruled… the regime will be like a dictatorship… like a king,” he said.
He said Nitish and he may have traded charges in the past but they belong to the same Samajwadi ideology. “This Samajwadi legacy… which our forefathers (purkhon) have given us… nobody can snatch it away from us,” he said. “We may have fought… but when it comes to national interest… it is our responsibility… to unite,” he said.