RJD's Tejashwi Yadav endorses Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav gathbandhan but shies away from committing to it

Two days after Bahujan Samaj Party party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav announced their alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Rashtriya Janata Dal founder Lalu Prasad's son Tejashwi said he endorsed their alliance but did not specifically say if the RJD was going to be a part of it.

At a joint press conference with former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, Tejashwi said he felt "compelled to travel to Lucknow from Patna to congratulate the Uttar Pradesh leaders for this tie-up".

Asked what would be his party's stand regarding the Congress in Bihar in the wake of the SP-BSP combine dumping it in Uttar Pradesh, Tejashwi was quoted by IANS as having said, "The Congress has been with us from early on." He said the ideal situation would be to defeat the BJP but repeated that the RJD is with the Congress.

File image of RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav . PTI

File image of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. PTI

Tejashwi said the country, under BJP rule, was in the grip of an "undeclared emergency".

"Constitutional institutions are being used for the government's own gain. The youth in the nation have no income or jobs. Farmers are ready to commit suicide. The slaves of the British are in power now and they have imposed the law of Nagpur, which is the agenda of the RSS. The Constitution of India has been replaced by the thoughts of Baba Golwalkar," he said.

This is not the first time that the RJD scion has spoken for the alliance. Tejashwi had, on Sunday, visited Mayawati and extended brithday wishes to the BSP chief.

"The grand alliance Laluji had imagined has become a reality thanks to Akhileshji. I told Mayawatiji as much yesterday," he said, adding that the BJP is set to lose nearly 100 seats in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. At Mayawati's residence as well, Tejashwi had predicted a "whitewash" of the BJP by opposition parties.

The Indian Express reported Tejashwi as having said that the by-elections just concluded are an indication of the BJP's impending defeat.

Speaking of the "collective anger" felt by farmers, labourers and businessmen, Tejashwi said the BJP was responsible for making them "see big dreams" but not following up on them.

"I ask chacha Nitish (Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar) how a double engine government can fool people this badly," he added. Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar had formed the government in Bihar after contesting the Bihar Assembly polls in alliance with Congress and RJD but ended the alliance midway to form the government with BJP.

Calling the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, "not agencies but the BJP's alliance partners", Tejashwi said his father is in jail now because Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks of him as a threat. "I was barely 13, in 2005, and did not even have a moustache when the BJP began slandering me," he added. Lalu was convicted in the fodder scam cases in January 2018.

Akhilesh, on his part, largely echoed Tejashwi's assertion that the country welcomes the SP-BSP alliance. "The fact that you (Tejashwi) congratulated us, will convince people that the alliance has been cemented. From Delhi to Kolkata, the whole country is overjoyed thanks to the SP-BSP tie up," he said.

The SP leader did not comment when asked who he thought should be the alliance's prime ministerial candidate. He had earlier said he would endorse his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, for the role.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 17:07:49 IST

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