Interview | Bihar

Bihar Assembly polls | BJP is directly in alliance with JD(U), indirectly with LJP and invisibly with Owaisi, says Manoj K Jha

Senior RJD leader Manoj Jha. File   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Senior RJD leader and party spokesperson Manoj K Jha speaks to The Hindu on the electoral prospects of the party, Tejashwi Yadav’s rallies and the burden of the 15-year Lalu-Rabri regime that the party carries.

The opinion polls have suggested that the RJD-Congress-Left combine lags behind the NDA in the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar. Your comments.

I would just say they should check their opinion polls of 2015 also. I know their compulsions and I know the pressures under which they work. I know the mandate given to them by their top bosses — opinion polls are more often than not are opinionated polls.

Also read: Bihar Assembly Elections | Bihar needs an alternative voice, says Asaduddin Owaisi

Tejashwi Yadav’s rallies have become a talking point, drawing a huge crowd. Don’t you fear that such huge participation could be seen as Yadav assertion and could have a counter consolidation?

Across Bihar, Tejashwiji is drawing an interactive crowd. These are not just limited to Muslims and Yadavs. Look at the areas where the rallies were held — Aurangabad, Goh, Taimur, Magadh, Aliganj… it is a mixed crowd. I have not seen such an enthusiastic and interactive crowd in recent times.

Also read: Congress-RJD will win Bihar polls, will go there for campaigning: Sachin Pilot

Bihar CM and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar in almost every rally of his is invoking the “jungle raj” during the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule. Is that why the RJD has removed Laluji’s and Rabriji’s pictures from its posters?

I give you a task — compare NCRB data 1990 to 2005 and subsequently 2005-2020. The data for the two periods whether it is kidnapping or dacoity is not different. Story lies in the data, not only what one says. I have seen an unprecedented degeneration in the language employed by Mr. Nitish Kumar, our honourable Chief Minister. He addresses Tejashwi “karta hai, bolta hai”. This is not the language of Bihar. Across all regions people in Bihar will differ with each other fundamentally, but they will never employ such derogatory language. I don’t know what happened to him. If there were 15-years of Jungle Raj under Lalu and Rabriji then in 2015, why did you have an alliance with the RJD. Why did you come to us? He became Chief Minister in 2015 with our support. I never thought he could reach such a level of decay.

Also read: Bihar Assembly elections | Mahagathbandhan releases joint list for all seats

This election, by all accounts, looks like a close contest. Do you at this stage regret letting go of Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Dal, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party?

No, no way. It is the other way round. They chose their own trajectory, I wish them well. I would say, very frankly, with conviction, the fight is between the RJD alliance and the BJP and on certain seats with the LJP. There is virtually no fight with the JD(U).

So you are saying it’s going to be a cakewalk for you?

No, election is an election. It cannot be described by words like ‘cakewalk’.

Also read: Bihar Assembly elections | Yet again, parties across the spectrum field Bihar’s 'bahubalis'

So how do you explain your claim that there is no fight with JD(U)?

I would not employ the phrase cakewalk, an election is an election. But I am very optimistic about the final outcome and I can assure you that the poll pundits will have to explain their opinion polls.

So will the Mahagathbandhan form a government without any other party’s support?

I am 200% sure that the Mahagathbandhan will form the government under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav.

What are your political observations about the LJP’s solo fight in this election? Who will they stand to benefit?

I tell you, the BJP is actually part of four alliances with different type of parameters ——direct, indirect and invisible. The BJP is in direct alliance with the JD(U), indirectly with the LJP and invisibly with Asaddudin Owaisi. This has never happened.

Mr. Owaisi’s allegation is that the RJD has deceived people of Bihar and could not stop the BJP.

Ask anybody in Bihar. They openly call Mr. Owaisi, “Hyderabad wala BJP ka agent”.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:01:21 AM |

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