Bihar deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Monday asserted that he was happy discharging his duties and not impatient to replace his boss Nitish Kumar, who was similarly focused on serving the state and not chasing prime ministerial ambitions.
The young Rashtriya Janata Dal leader made the averment inside the state assembly, with Kumar seated by his side, in an apparent bid to quell speculations of a rift with the Janata Dal-United boss on account of insolence of many leaders of his own party who seem anxious to see him in the highest seat of power in Bihar.
Moreover, there have also been speculations that while entering into an alliance in August last year, a “deal” was struck whereby Nitish Kumar would give up his chair for his deputy who in turn would back him for the top job in national politics.
“Neither he wants to become the prime minister nor I want to become the CM. We are happy where we are,” Yadav said while replying to the debate on a cut motion on the budget for the road construction department, a portfolio he holds.
A cut motion was moved by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sanjay Saraogi but was defeated by voice vote with the opposition party in absentia.
Notably, Yadav's speech was preceded by a walkout staged by BJP MLAs, led by Leader of the Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha, who had sought the RJD leader's reply over corruption charges which have led to cases lodged by central agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation and ED.
“I am here to reply to all their charges. But they chose to run away. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition knew that I will remind him that he needs to apologise for raising, on the floor of this House, fake news of attacks on migrants in Tamil Nadu,” said Yadav, in opening remarks to his impassioned speech that lasted for nearly 30 minutes.
“Ever since we (JD-U and RJD) joined hands, I knew that the parrot will be set free from the cage,” he said, referring to the metaphor to allege the use of central agencies to settle political scores.
“These are strange times. Very different even from the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani with whom we had ideological differences. Now we see vindictiveness that seems to go beyond political and often becomes personal,” alleged Yadav, whose house was raided by the ED a couple of weeks ago and whose parents were grilled by CBI.
“The ED spent 15 hours at my residence despite having completed their job in 30 minutes. Whey I asked why, they said they were under instructions to better their record in the case against (former Delhi deputy CM) Manish Sisodia at whose place they had spent 14 hours,” claimed the RJD leader.
The RJD was among the signatories to a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in protest against hounding out of the Aam Aadmi Party leader.
“The ED spoke of recoveries during the raids. I challenge them to show the seizure list. They claim to have recovered Rs one crore in cash. Is it a big deal when you raid at least 25 places? Even the houses of my married sisters were raided. They were made to take off the jewellery they were wearing, including their Mangalsutra which is being shown as recovery,” alleged Yadav.
“We are expecting our first child and I would love it if we are blessed with a daughter. My wife, on account of her pregnancy, suffers from erratic blood pressure. Her condition worsened when the ED raid left her confined to a spot for so long. Ultimately, we had to take her to a hospital,” he said.
Yadav, who is the younger son and heir apparent to RJD president Lalu Prasad, said he inherits his father's ideological convictions and his guts.
Intimidatory tactics could never cow Prasad down nor would these work in his son's case, Yadav asserted.
“What more can I ask for? My parents have both been chief ministers. I have, at such a young age, served as the Leader of the Opposition as well as the Deputy CM,” he said.
“They (BJP) are scared of facing a rout in 2024 (Lok Sabha polls). They subscribe to an ideology that celebrates the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi,” alleged Yadav.