Patna: JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ on Sunday defended his party’s move to field candidates for Madhya Pradesh polls where ally Congress is engaged in a straight contest with the BJP.
The JD(U) chief, whose party had dumped the BJP a year ago and is now a key constituent of the I.N.D.I.A coalition, was responding to queries from journalists about the decision to field five candidates for the 230-strong assembly.
“Would we not make efforts to expand the base of our organisation?” Lalan said, adding, “The I.N.D.I.A coalition has been set up to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, but in state assemblies, different sets of dynamics are involved. For example, both Congress and CPI(M) fight each other in Kerala. So does Mamata Banerjee and the Left in West Bengal.”
A key aide of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the JD(U)’s supreme leader, Lalan also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to appoint government officials as ‘rath prabharis’ with a view to propagating the Centre’s achievements betrayed the latter’s “lack of trust” in the BJP cadre.
“The PM knows that his party workers have been feeling stifled because of the lack of intra-party democracy. They have also been facing the heat of growing public dissatisfaction with the government which has miserably failed to deliver on its promises like bringing back black money and creation of two crore jobs every year,” claimed the JD(U) leader.
He added, “Even on the issue of corruption, the Modi government has lost its credibility. The CAG has flagged glaring irregularities in the Centre’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat Yojana. But the government does not have the courage to get these investigated.”
“Moreover, it is also clear that Agniveer soldiers, who will be retired from service within four years, at a young age, and given no benefits, are not entitled to benefits extended to martyrs even if they lose their lives while discharging their duties,” alleged Lalan.
He claimed because of the aforementioned reasons, the BJP’s cadre would have been at a loss “upon being asked to blow the trumphet of its government” and therefore the Centre has chosen to fall back upon bureaucrats.
Lalan also mocked the claim of BJP’s handsome victory in upcoming Assembly polls in five states by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, widely regarded as the party’s principal strategist.
“Amit Shah seems very fond of bombastic predictions. But he seems to have learnt his astrology from a charlatan. We saw his rhetoric in the assembly polls of Bihar in 2015 when he was forecasting the exact time when Nitish Kumar will be tendering resignation after the Mahagathbandhan’s defeat. But it was the BJP which ended up being trounced,” said the JD(U) chief.
Notably, JD(U) had a short-lived alliance with the RJD and Congress, which was given the name ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance). The party returned to BJP-led NDA in 2017 only to call off the alliance few years later and return to the Mahagathbandhan which now also included three Left parties.
(Published 29 October 2023, 17:15 IST)