Patna: Amid the ongoing political drama in Maharashtra, Bihar’s Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday, November 25, revealed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had offered him to join hands to become the chief minister in 2016. But he refused to compromise with his ideology and principles of the party.
"If we would have compromised with our ideology and principles and accepted BJP's offer to join hands with it, I would have become chief minister of Bihar and BJP leader Sushil Modi the deputy CM, not Nitish Kumar as he is now," Yadav told media after attending the second day of ongoing winter session of Bihar Assembly. The Assembly was adjourned twice after the Opposition staged protest over lathicharge against Congress workers and other issues.
He also said that RJD has never compromised with party ideology and principles, and will not do so in future. By saying this in the public, he has put to end months of speculation that he may join hands with BJP ahead of 2020 Bihar Assembly polls.
In addition to this, without naming Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United, he said that RJD had rejected BJP’s but those greedy for power had joined hands with the ruling party at the Centre to form the government. JD-U had left the coalition with RJD and joined hands with BJP in July 2017.
Talking about the situation in Maharashtra, the son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad said, “BJP is a power-hungry party which wants power at any cost. It is now reflected in Maharashtra.”
According to political observers in Bihar, BJP—which is part of the ruling coalition in the state—is no longer comfortable with Nitish Kumar. The saffron party has started directly targeting him and his agenda in public to embarrass him and damage his image ahead of the 2020 state Assembly polls.
They believe that this is a part of BJP’s well-planned strategy to project itself as more suitable for the top post – chief minister – in the state. In the last three months, several BJP leaders have demanded the chief minister’s post for the BJP and advised Nitish Kumar to play national politics in Delhi and hand over the state’s power to BJP.
Several BJP leaders have privately said that the ‘Nitish factor’ is not visible any more in the state. JD-U itself is banking heavily on the ‘Modi factor’, as Nitish Kumar, too, had promoted ‘brand Modi’ during 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “It benefited JD-U, which won 16 of the 17 seats it contested this time as an ally of BJP, unlike the 2014 polls when it had won only two of the 30 seats contested in Bihar by itself,” a BJP leader said.
“Nitish Kumar’s claim of ‘sushashan’ (good governance) has been punctured on account of collapse of the law and order in the state and his political credibility is at an all-time low,” said the leader.
BJP leaders also claim that the party is stronger in the state and enjoys overwhelming support from the upper castes, OBCs and EBCs that were once loyal to Nitish Kumar.
According to political experts, BJP had used the ‘brand Nitish’ to fight against RJD since the mid-1990s till early 2000s.The BJP had projected a clean image of Nitish Kumar as a suitable face for the post of the chief minister in the 2005 Assembly polls and it had clicked.
It has become a thing of past now, and the saffron party seems eager to promote its own chief ministerial face during the upcoming elections.