My contest is against Lalu Prasad not Rohini, says Rajiv Pratap Rudy

BJP leaders earlier mocked Rohini Acharya by calling her Singaporean Bahu because she stays in Singapore with her husband and three children

Updated - May 09, 2024 01:21 am IST

Published - May 08, 2024 11:33 pm IST

Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that Rohini Acharya is the dummy candidate; the contest is against Lalu Prasad and she is in Saran for vacation. 

Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that Rohini Acharya is the dummy candidate; the contest is against Lalu Prasad and she is in Saran for vacation.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rajiv Pratap Rudy, sitting MP of Saran and three times parliamentarian who has defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi and Lalu’s samadhi is now all set to face Mr. Prasad’s daughter Rohini Acharya at Saran Lok Sabha seat. Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP) leaders earlier mocked Ms. Acharya by calling her Singaporean Bahu because she stays in Singapore with her husband and three children.

While speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Rudy said that the candidate would have had no identity if she was not the daughter of Mr. Prasad. Taking a potshot of her candidature, Mr. Rudy said that Ms. Acharya is the dummy candidate; the contest is against Lalu Prasad and she is in Saran for vacation.

Also Read | Lalu Prasad’s daughter Rohini Acharya files nomination from Bihar’s Saran seat

Ms. Acharya came to the limelight ever since she donated her kidney to her ailing father. He also asserted that RJD is not a political party because it’s so difficult to find a candidate to contest against him that they have to pitch a family member every time. Lashing out at Mr. Prasad for accusing the BJP of changing the Constitution, Mr. Rudy pointed out that Mr. Prasad is the biggest danger to the Constitution.

Read excerpts of the interview:

Saran has become a hot seat due to Rohini Acharya who is contesting against you, how much prepared are you? 

I am very surprised when you call it a hot seat. Certainly, you call it a hot seat not because of the candidate, it’s because of her father. Candidate would have had no identity if she was not the daughter of someone. So, it is a hot seat because of Lalu Prasad Yadav and it has always been a hot seat for Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family. The person who has been contesting against them for the last 30 years is Rajiv Pratap Rudy and is winning consecutively. I have been here for the last 30 years now, this village staying in Amnour and this is my address. You should ask the question from the candidate who has come ten days before. So, it’s very surprising that the press people are asking about my preparedness against the person who has landed here 10 days ago and I am supposed to answer. For me it is the voter and the blessing of god and nothing else.

Your rival (Rohini Acharya) takes dig at you saying you will be grounded this time as you are also a pilot.

I will put it in a different way, they call me Hawa-Hawai neta. It’s a fact. How can you deny a fact? The fact is that I am the only parliamentarian in the world who is actively a commercial pilot, he is a captain on Airbus 320 and he flies one of the largest airlines in the country. So, how can you deny a fact? I am in the air and it is a fact and my people take pride in it.

You defeated Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi and Chandrika Rai the father of Mr. Prasad’s daughter in-law and now you are facing Rohini Acharya, the daughter of Mr. Prasad.

I am very surprised. It’s a political party called Rashtriya Janata Dal, I really do not know whether it is a political party or not. It’s so difficult to find a candidate to contest against me that they have to pitch a family member every time. Very surprising and they also lose, it’s not I win but people decide. It is not a political party, it seems that they don’t have a candidate, it’s a private party, it’s a family party. I am from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) where the Prime Minister and the whole team decided to field me again. I am blessed to be part of the political system which is at the national level and national party. We have a national manifesto; we have national philosophy. I cannot say about them, it’s a small group, a clan which contests elections.

Do you find Rohini Acharya will be giving you a tough fight?

Again,I would repeat, Rohini Acharya, which you say, is a candidate, she is face mask, she is a Mukhauta, she is not contesting the elections. She did not have an address in this district for five years and she will not have an address in this district for another five years. She is just here for the vacation; she is just here for the road show. She is not here as a politician; it is Lalu’s face and she is representing Lalu. People of this district know it is not a contest against her, it’s a contest against Lalu Prasad Yadav.

There is sympathy towards her because she donated her kidney to her father.

Every daughter should be like her. I have no comments to make on it. Every daughter should look after their father, it’s absolutely good. It’s a good and noble gesture, how can anyone deny it?

When you talk about nepotism, it is visible in all the political parties. Be it RJD, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) over even BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been attacking dynasty politics. How do you take it?

I am a first-generation politician and it’s been 35 years in active politics. I started as an MLA here and being the first-generation politician in the district like Saran which has been a hotbed of politics, otherwise also and I have survived it so far. There is no question of supporting nepotism, I am not indulging into it.

Out of six Assembly segments of Saran Lok Sabha seat, four are represented by RJD, do you find it challenging?

Well, it is a very interesting question. There was a time in 1996 when Lalu Prasad Yadav ji was the Chief Minister of the State and six Assembly constituencies were represented by RJD MLAs. He was the most powerful man in Bihar and still I won the parliament seat. I think you can take the cue from that, not many people remember this.

Tell us the work which you have done in the Saran Lok Sabha constituency as a member of parliament.

I enjoy my work and today I take credit for bringing an investment to the tune of ₹36,000 crore. This number is just not in the air, either the project is on the verge of completion, it has been sanctioned and tendered or it is the DPR (Detailed Project Report) stage or execution has been completed. All four stages, the cumulative amount of investment in just the last five years is ₹36,000 crore. I can give you the list, it relates to the national highway, bridges on river Ganga, other bridges, bypasses, central road fund, IOCL CGD (Indian Oil Corporation-City Gas Distribution) gas pipeline, Kalughat terminal, Namami Gange Sewage Treatment Plant, projects related to urban development, ghats of very modern category in the district of Saran, PWD roads- largest investment, PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna) again largest investment. Recently when the Finance Minister had come to this district, she sanctioned and disbursed ₹1,382 crore. Largest investment in the power grid, additional power of 400 KV substation of ₹800 crore. I have to stop and pause to remember what else I have done. Saran is possibly the largest investment which any district of Bihar has seen.

Most of the BJP candidates depended on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their victory, are you one of them?

Anyone who is contesting today is dependent on him so that is a basic constant fighter. I may have used the schemes of the Prime Minister of the Union Government to implement it. I may be efficient or manage to draw it. So, whatever is the scheme announced in parliament by the finance minister, it takes two years to roll out. Anything spoken in Parliament by the finance minister, I write it down in my diary and follow it for two years. The moment the scheme is rolled out it first comes to Saran and this has been my strategy for the last so many years.

You are seen making chowmein, sattu and bhunja on the road, what is this all about?

No, it’s nothing such. Because of the candidature of Lalu Prasad, now you people have started coming. Please watch my personal life in private. You will find many more interesting things which I do, so it is nothing unusual.

The opposition is attacking BJP for misusing the central agencies like CBI, ED and IT and two Chief Ministers are already in jail.

Please recall when Lalu Prasad Yadav was sent to jail as Chief Minister which government was there at the Centre. It was Congress government; how can they claim anything new. If the agencies were working good, then under the Constitution, they are working good now. Corruption is corruption and there is a history of Chief Ministers going to jail whether it is Madhu Koda, for that matter Lalu Prasad Yadav and others who have gone now. I don’t think there is anything surprising about it. Law is taking its own course.

There are allegations that politicians who had charges of corruption joined the BJP like Praful Patel and Ajit Pawar.

I don’t think any charges were proved against any of them but that is a different matter and I am not aware of any such corrupt people which you are talking about. You will have to refer one by one. As far as Praful Patel is concerned, I don’t think so. By mere investigation or enquiry you cannot substantiate that there is corruption.

Lalu Prasad is continuously saying that the Constitution is in danger and BJP wants to change it.

The Constitution was in danger when Lau Prasad Yadav was with the UPA government, when he was Chief Minister of Bihar. When his daughter’s wedding took place, every showroom having the best of domestic vehicles was picked up from the showroom for the Baratis. That was the threat to the Constitution when law and order had come to a standstill. So, a pot calling the kettle black is very surprising. He himself has been a danger to the Constitution and remains the danger to the Constitution today also.

Why is BJP afraid of conducting caste census at national level?

That is at the policy level and the Constitution does not allow it.

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