Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to form the Mahagathbandhan government was a "slap on the BJP's face" and a similar coming together of Opposition parties will be replicated across the country, deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said on Friday after meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, who met Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in New Delhi, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of working to finish regional parties and asserted that if they are finished, the Opposition and democracy will be finished as well.
Yadav, who also met Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja, said the pre-poll constituents of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) have welcomed the decision by Nitish Kumar.
"This government will run strongly because this government is a government for the poor...it is the government of the people. The decision by Nitish Kumar at the right time, you can say, is a slap on the BJP's face," he told reporters outside 10 Janpath.
Yadav said all parties have joined hands against the BJP in the Bihar assembly, and added "now this is going to be replicated across the whole country".
"People are suffering due to inflation. There are those who want to rule by creating Hindu-Muslim tensions, put the Constitution and democracy in danger, they want to break the brotherhood, Bihar has once again given a new direction to the country," he said.
"For that we thank the chief minister, Sonia Gandhi ji, Yechury ji, Dipankar ji(Bhattacharya, Communist Party of India-Marxust Leninist general secretary), Raja ji and Lalu (Prasad) ji," he said.
Yadav said Lalu Prasad fought against communal forces and social justice.
"He (Lalu) never got scared nor did he bow before such forces," Yadav added.
He accused the BJP of destroying regional parties, citing the happenings in Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
"BJP wants to scare those who get scared and buy those who are willing to be bought out," Yadav alleged.
"Constitutional institutions are being destroyed. Be it Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation or Income Tax (Department), their condition is worse than police stations. Who do they want to scare? We, the people of Bihar, are not going to be scared. I have said 'Bihari bikaau nahi, tikaau hota hai' (People of Bihar cannot be bought out, they are reliable)," he said.
They will never compromise with their self-respect, Yadav said, adding Bihar and Nitish Kumar have shown this.
Alleging that the BJP wants to destroy regional parties, he said regional parties are mostly of backwards and Dalits and the BJP wants to finish such parties.
"You wanted to finish Nitish Kumar, you created division in Ram Vilas Paswanji's party. If regional parties are finished, Opposition will be finished, democracy will be finished. If democracy is finished, the country will be run in a dictatorial manner," he said.
Yadav's visit to Delhi, the first to the national capital after taking the oath of office, also holds significance as Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad is in New Delhi and the finalisation of names of ministers is set to be high on the agenda during discussions between the two.
The cabinet, which at present comprises only Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Yadav as his deputy, is due for expansion early next week.
Earlier, he met Yechury and Raja in New Delhi and is learnt to have discussed the developments in Bihar as well as the way forward.
After the meeting, Yadav said in a tweet that he met the two Left leaders and had a positive discussion on the current social, economic and political scenario prevailing in the country and Bihar.
"Bihar, the land which gave birth to democracy, has again shown the way to the country," Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.
He also celebrated Raksha Bandhan with his sisters in New Delhi.
Yadav is likely to be back in Bihar soon for the cabinet expansion expected immediately after Independence Day.
The expansion would be followed, later this month, by a special session of the assembly when the new government will prove its majority on the floor.
The RJD leader served as deputy chief minister of Bihar from 2015 to 2017.
Kumar and Yadav had taken oath on Wednesday, a day after the Janata Dal-United snapped ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and joined hands with the RJD, the Congress and some other parties to form a Mahagathbandhan government.