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Interview | BJP Will Suffer its Biggest Ever Defeat in 2024, Says Lalu Prasad Yadav

"As a political party, it’s the biggest sin to desert the cause of the people when they are suffering the worst nightmare in their life.”
Lalu Prasad Yadav. Photo: X/@laluprasadrjd

Patna: Amidst a series of switchovers from Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) leaders and parties to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lalu Prasad Yadav said, “It won’t make any difference as the people are angry at the Narendra Modi government and they are not shifting anywhere. Neta idhar udhar jaate rahte hain (Leaders keep on switching here and there).”

“The poor people are suffering from an unprecedented price rise and the throttling of their voice and fundamental rights with the misuse of power. The poor, youth, backward classes, Dalits and minorities are being subjected to the worst-ever cruelty. As a political party, it’s the biggest sin to desert the cause of the people when they are suffering the worst nightmare in their life,” the Rashtriya Janata Dal president said, speaking exclusively to the this writer for the first time after Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Jayant Choudhary in Uttar Pradesh and Ashok Chavan in Maharashtra switched over to the BJP.

Specifically asked about the Bihar chief minister – whose departure to the BJP led to the fall of the Mahagathbandhan government in the state – Lalu said, “Wah habitual bhagora hai. Apne aadat se lachaar hai (He is a habitual turncoat. He is the prisoner of his habit). People have understood him; they will punish him heavily.”

“It is the duty of the opposition parties and leaders to stand for the causes of people when they are suffering the worst-ever tyranny and oppression. I have never compromised with communal and oppressive forces and will never do it, no matter what challenge they (the BJP) pose before me,” Lalu said.

Asked about the “wave” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favour in the wake of consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the RJD boss said, “It’s all nonsense. The so-called wave is only in the media that they (the BJP) have captured. Lord Ram, who lives in every molecule of our existence, can’t be used to create a ‘wave’ for electoral gains.”

“But the media, deviating from its work to raise and debate unprecedented unemployment, rising disparity in society, misuse of power and subjugation of the democratic institutions as never before, untold suffering of the farmers and farm-labourers, and unabated crackdown on the voices of dissent, is fanning hatred and creating divide among communities,” Lalu said.

He warned the opposition leaders and parties across the country that they would suffer heavily for switching to the BJP at a time when the people have made up their mind to defeat the Narendra Modi government. “Take it from me, the BJP will suffer its biggest ever defeat in the 2024 elections. People are full of disgust and resentment against the Modi government. They are waiting for their moment to dethrone it…let the elections take place.”

‘Robust INDIA in Bihar’

Lalu said, “INDIA is in absolutely good health in Bihar. The flight of Nitish to the BJP has infused a fresh life in INDIA in Bihar. Done with Nitish – a perennial source of anxiety to any alliance he joins – we are left with the Congress and Left parties, whose commitment to the cause of secularism and social justice is undiluted and unwavering. There won’t be any problem at all on the issues of seat sharing and a common strategy to fight against the BJP in the state.”

When it was pointed out that the NDA had won 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2019, he said, “Baar baar babul ke neeche aam nahin miltaa. Iss baar Bihar mein Bhajpa aur uske saathi kahin ke nahin rahegein (One can’t get mangoes beneath the acacia tree, time and again. The BJP and its friends will be left with nothing to show, this time around).”

On Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi logon ko jagaane ka kaam kar rahe hain (Rahul Gandhi is awakening the people),” Lalu said, adding, “In course of his Bharat Jodo Nyah Yatra, Rahul is talking about vicious unemployment, the BJP favouring the rich corporates at the cost of the poor, minimum support price (MSP) to the farmers, caste census, more quota for the backward classes and Dalits in government jobs, and back-breaking price rise. But the media instead of talking about the people’s issues is hyping up the RSS-BJP’s narrative, bordering on crass communalism.”

“He (Rahul) is reaching out to the people, sharing their agony and distress. He is doing what a responsible opposition leader should do. He is on the right track.”

Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav. Photo: X/@laluprasadrjd

Lalu’s son and leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, joined Rahul’s yatra recently at Sasaram and drove a jeep with Rahul on the side seat for a stretch. Tejashwi launched a frontal attack on Modi for the latter’s “neglect of the real issues facing the people” and expressed his commitment to creating more jobs and employment.

Extending his whole-hearted support to Rahul’s yatra, Tejashwi also recalled how Nitish had approached his parents (Lalu and Rabri Devi) with folded hands “begging to save his Janata Dal (United) on the plea that the BJP was splitting it”.

Asked about his recent statement that his door was open for Nitish, Lalu said, “I am not an Amit Shah type of leader who shut his door for Nitish and opened it when Nitish tumbled back to the BJP, ditching the cause of social justice. My doors have always been open for the forces that have joined our battle against communal forces. I haven’t said anything new. I have fought against the oppressive and communal forces all through my life and have welcomed those who have joined our battle for social justice, peace and harmony.”

Nalin Verma is a senior journalist, author, media educator and independent researcher in folklore.

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