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‘B-team of BJP, vote splitters’: Tejashwi Yadav’s veiled attack on LJP

With the BJP asserting that the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is not part of the NDA in Bihar, leader of the opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Sunday took an indirect dig on the party describing it as a “B-team” of the BJP and a “vote splitter”.

Without taking name of the LJP or its president Chirag Paswan, Tejashwi asked the voters at his rallies in Mokama, Sheikhpura, Jamui and Nawada to be cautious of the “B-team” of the BJP. “You all should be cautious of the B team of the BJP. They are vote katwas (vote splitters),” Tejashwi said, indirectly referring to the LJP.

He also took a jibe at chief minister Nitish Kumar for the latter’s repeated attacks on the RJD by portraying its rule for 15 years as a “misrule” and asserting how the “lantern age” (lantern is RJD’s poll symbol) in Bihar was passe now. He called it an attempt by the JD(U) strongman to keep his election narrative focused on his development model of 15 years versus the 15 years of the RJD government.

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“Chief minister Nitish Kumar says the lantern age is over. I want to tell him that the age of the arrow (poll symbol of the JD(U)) is also over. The missiles have now replaced arrows. This is an age of missiles,” he said, making an oblique inference as to how people were also tired of CM Kumar’s government for its inaction and wanted a replacement to step into modernity. In many meetings in recent past, Tejashwi had said that CM Kumar had become tired and cannot handle the state. Tejashwi cited how the state was ridden with unemployment, poverty and migration.

Earlier in the day, the 31-year-old Yadav scion started his campaign with his first meeting at Mokama where he canvassed for party’s nominee and strongman Anant Singh who is incarcerated in various criminal cases at Beur jail in Patna. He is charged under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) after recovery of sophisticated arms and ammunition last year.

Reports said Tejashwi did not name Singh in his election speech, instead restricted his speech more on making promises. “People should give us an opportunity to serve for the next five years. I promise to give employment to 10 lakh youths in government with my first signature on coming to power. We’ll also implement same pay, same work practice for contractual teachers, ASHA workers and Anganwadi workers,” he said.

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Tejashwi also promised that the old pension for beneficiaries would be raised from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 if his party assumes power.

Mokama constituency is dominated by the sitting MLA Singh’s caste men Bhumihars as well as Yadavs and other OBCs. Singh is a four-time MLA from Mokama and contesting for the fifth time from his traditional seat.

Singh’s wife, Neelam Devi, who had unsuccessfully contested the last parliamentary polls from Munger seat, and also filed her nomination papers from Mokama seat this time before withdrawing it, was present at the dais with Tejashwi, reports said. Singh’s candidature as an RJD nominee has given ammunition to the ruling JD(U) and the BJP to accuse the principal opposition party of promoting don-turned politicians.

Besides, the RJD’s chief ministerial candidate also slammed the chief minister, accusing him of betraying people’s mandate in 2015 by realigning with the BJP in 2017. “Our paltu chacha (turncoat) not only betrayed the mandate of the Grand Alliance government but also cheated the people of the state,” he said at the rallies.

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