'But we will leave it to the people of Bihar to deal with the BJP's dirty politics, just like they did this time.'
The people of Raghopur gave Tejaswi Yadav the best gift he could get a day before his birthday. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi's youngest son was elected to the state assembly with a handsome majority of 23,000 votes.
After the Mahagatbandhan sweep, the Lalu Yadav household has emerged as the nub of the state's political activity as well as the place from where the future of Bihar's politics for the next five years will take shape.
Busy meeting supporters and well-wishers, posing with them for selfies and giving back-to-back interviews to the big media contingent assembled inside 10, Circular Road, Tejaswi Yadav looked dazed and fatigued.
Amid this din and frequent interruptions by partymen and admirers, Tejaswi, below, left, spoke to Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com about how his family plans to erase the 'jungle raj' tag that his father has been saddled with.
The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has already started a campaign that this government will be Jungle Raj 2 given that the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) has won more seats than the JD-U (Janata Dal-United). How would you assure the people of Bihar that it won't be so?
Let them (the BJP) spread whatever perception they want to about Lalu Prasad Yadav. The people of Bihar have showed that it wasn't 'jungle raj,' but garibon ka raj (a government for the poor). That is why the people of Bihar elected the Mahagatbandhan with such a landslide.
How will you assure the Bihari people, some of whom would are not convinced by your party's promises, that you would not stray from the path of development?
We will toil hard to prove our critics wrong. Development of Bihar, good governance and an administration that will strive to maintain law and order in the state would be the Mahagatbandhan's topmost priorities.
We will also prioritise education, health and the security of women so that they can also come out and freely contribute to Bihar's development.
You won the Raghopur seat by 23,000 votes. Do you have a plan for the people of your constituency? Would you promise your voters that in the next two to five years you will build more roads, schools, electrify more villages in your constituency?
Road connectivity is not too good in Raghopur right now. We will start by building more schools that will impart quality education to the people and build roads that will be of the best quality and help the people of Raghopur connect with the rest of the state. This is our mota-mota (broad) idea.
What will be your topmost development priorities for the people of Raghopur?
Quality education and road connectivity. It will take some time because the central government will have to give funds.
But the state government too can implement programmes for the priorities that you have listed.
Jitna MLA ke fund main hota hai utne se hi kaam karna padega (I will have to make do with whatever funds come via my MLA fund).
Both your parents have been former chief ministers of Bihar. What was the advice they gave you when you jumped into the political fray?
Fulfil all your responsibilities properly. Only that will help you win the trust and love of the people of Bihar. Connect as much as you can with people of not only your constituencies, but of the entire state and put forth your policies and programmes in front of them.
What was the mood at your home when the early leads on November 8 showed results in the BJP's favour?
We were all very relaxed and confident of the Mahagatbandhan's victory. There were no tense moments at all for the family. We knew these were just postal ballots being counted. Didn't you see Laluji greeting the media early in the morning!
What was your success mantra?
Hard work and avoid distractions.
What sort of distractions?
There were so many distractions they wanted to create. But we didn't get disturbed by the issues they raised.
Who are the 'they' you are referring to?
The BJP and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), of course. They tried to make issues out of non-issues, but the people of Bihar have showed them that the politics of polarisation, communalism and blaming Laluji for ushering 'jungle raj' in Bihar will not pay political dividends.
You have more elected legislators in the Bihar assembly than the JD-U. Won't there be pressure from your legislators to demand chief ministership for the bigger party?
Our party president Lalu Prasad Yadavji has publicly committed that only Nitish Kumar will be the chief minister of Bihar for the next five years.
The BJP will, of course, play dirty, but then we will leave it to the people of Bihar to deal with their dirty politics, just like they did this time.
What role will you play in the next government?
It is for the top leaders of the Mahagatbandhan to decide. It will be their sole prerogative.
If any responsibility comes my way, I will definitely accept it and try to fulfil all my responsibilities in a fair manner and win the trust and love of people of Bihar.