Predicting victory for the Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar Assembly polls, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said there was resentment against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and cracks in the alliance between the party and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).
“There is internal resentment against JD(U), which is riven by factionalism,” said Mr. Chavan, MLA from Karad South in Satara district.
The statements came in the wake of a new row between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners after some BJP posters dropped Mr. Kumar’s image, while retaining only that of the Prime Minister.
Alleging that it was the BJP that directed its covert ‘ally’, the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) to oppose the JD(U), Mr. Chavan said the poll would result in a win for the grand coalition of Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and other Left parties. Mr. Prasad’s son, Tejashwi, is the projected chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.
‘New line of leaders’
“There is an undertow of sympathy for Lalu Prasad as he has been shunted in jail for many years now. A new generation of young leaders from the grand coalition has now emerged,” he said.
Mr. Chavan said the BJP’s announcement to give free COVID-19 vaccines in Bihar was “reprehensible” and a crude vote-garnering tactic. “I condemn that statement in their manifesto... The Centre is shamelessly politicizing the pandemic by saying, in effect, that Bihar will get free vaccines if it votes for the BJP. This is intolerable. Vaccines must be provided to all States, irrespective of whether they are poll-bound or not,” he said.
“Instead of developing a fair and equitable strategy to distribute Covid-19 vaccine to all Indians, BJP’s Bihar manifesto suggests #vaccinepolitics to win Bihar election. Singling out one state for free vaccines for a political advantage is blatantly unfair, illegal and inhuman,” Mr. Chavan earlier tweeted.
Launching a broadside on the Modi government, Mr. Chavan said it only wanted to win elections at any cost and that it had no concerns for either the farmers or the crumbling economy. “India’s economy was in freefall even before the pandemic. Demonetisation, imposition of the Goods and Services Tax and now the lockdown has resulted in a lethal situation where the economy is poised to collapse. In the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21, India’s economy regressed by an unprecedented 24% — something that has never happened in 200 years,” Mr. Chavan said.
Castigating the Centre for steamrolling the agriculture reform Bills in Parliament, he said the BJP had neither consulted its allies nor any of the 250 farmer outfits before passing them by voice vote.
‘Will intensify protests’
“The Congress’s agitation against the agrarian reform laws will intensify in the coming days. Today, even Bangladesh, a country that India helped create, has surpassed us in terms of the per capita income…India’s economy has become a source of real concern,” he said.