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Bihar: Do Massive Crowds at Tejashwi’s Yatra Indicate Anger Against Ruling NDA?

The huge number of people, especially youth, turning up for the RJD leader’s roadshows and public meetings are giving sleepless nights to BJP-JD-U leaders.
The huge number of people, especially youth, turning up for the RJD leader’s roadshows and public meetings are giving sleepless nights to BJP-JD-U leaders.

Patna: He might have been ousted from power nearly a month ago by the Bharatiya Janata party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, but Tejashwi Yadav’s popularity and appeal seems to be increasing day by day, if the huge crowds to welcome his Jan Vishwas Yatra and public meetings are an indication. The huge crowds are giving sleepless nights to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is president of Janata Dal-United, and BJP leaders ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The young Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, who is former Deputy Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, has hit the streets to remind people of his contribution during the 17- month rule of the Mahagathbandhan.

The massive crowds turning to greet him, lauding him from roads and rooftops and the enthusiastic response of people in one public meeting after another has become a hot topic of discussion in the state. Through this Yatra, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader is trying to reach out to people and inform them about his rozgar (employment), vikas (development) and social justice agenda across Bihar.

Tejashwi's main focus is on the youth. “We have fulfilled our promises. Now every leader in the country and any government will have to talk about ‘rozgar’ aur ‘naukri’ (employment and jobs)" he has been repeatedly saying in his public meetings.

The RJD leader makes it a point to remind people that the previous Mahagathbandhan government was committed to creating more jobs to fulfil its promise of providing 10 lakh government jobs by 2025. Besides, the previous government was working to create jobs in the private sector, mainly in infrastructure, construction and other sectors.

Recall that the 17-month-old Mahagathbandhan government gave government employee status to more than 3.5 lakh contractual school teachers in December 2023 – responding to their years’-long demand and agitation.

"The massive crowds turning out to listen to him during his ongoing Yatra mainly consist of youths, who see him as a leader who provided thousands of government jobs. They are hopeful that he will do more for them, Satya Narayan Madan, a keen political observer, told NewsClick.

During his Yatra last week in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Gaya, Aurangabad and Nalanda, huge crowds turned up for the road show as well as public meetings.

The response to Tejashwi’s Yatra is widely being seen as a big boost to RJD leaders, workers and supporters, who were demoralised after Nitish Kumar, on January 28, dumped the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan and joined hands with BJP to form a new government.


Upbeat over the Yatra, senior RJD leader Manoj Jha on Monday said the huge crowds and response of the people was an indication of change."Tejashwi ji naukri aur bharosa ke prateek ban gaye hai Bihar mein" (Tejashwi has become a beacon of jobs and trust in Bihar), said Jha, who is also RJD Rajya Sabha MP.

On Sunday, huge crowds welcomed Tejashwi's roadshow from Patna via Vaishali, Samastipur to Madhubani districts.

"Massive crowds on the roads greeted him everywhere. It was much more than we expected. This is a clear signal of his growing popularity among people, mainly youths, who thronged the roads to catch a glimpse of him and listen to him" RJD leader Ejaz Ahmad said.

Tejashwi's yatra on Monday entered Seemanchal, a Muslim-dominated backward region of Bihar. He is scheduled to hold a road show in Kishanganj and Araria districts.

Till date, Tejashwi has covered two dozen districts during his Yatra, where he has been repeatedly reminding people that he had fulfilled his promise to the youth by providing employment and distributing letters for government jobs, besides improving health services and implementing social justice for inclusive development.

Tejashwi's nine-day long yatra is a first by any political party in the state this year and will conclude on February 28. He has been also inviting people to participate in the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan's rally on March 3 in Patna. RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja and CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya are slated to address the rally .

To take on the BJP-led NDA and its ally, Nitish Kumar’s JD-U, Tejashwi has been aggressively attacking both, terming the Chief Minister as “visionless and outdated” for developing Bihar. He also accused Kumar of treating the mandate of the people like “footwear”.

The RJD leader also cautioned people that Nitish Kumar may go for Bihar Assembly polls along with Lok Sabha polls. "We are ready for it and request you to continue supporting us to fulfill the remaining promises", he said.

Sensing a political challenge, BJP leaders have been targeting Tejashwi's Yatra and attacking him by raising old issues.

However, so far neither the ruling NDA nor the Opposition Mahagathbandhan have formally announced any seat-sharing arrangement for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. But one thing is clear, BJP is set to contest more seats than its ally, JD-U .

Similarly, RJD is set to contest from the majority of the 40 seats in Bihar and its allies, Congress and Left parties, will contest from a dozen seats. As per this formula, the main focus is on winning the elections seat by seat to prevent the BJP-led NDA from replicating its 2019 success in Bihar.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA (then BJJ, JD-U and Lok Janshakti Party) secured 39 out of 40 parliamentary seats, with the Congress winning only one seat and the RJD failing to secure any seats, which was a significant setback for the party.

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