Patna, August 21: Amid the buzz that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could emerge as a prime ministerial candidate, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said if considered by the Opposition, the JD(U) leader might be a “strong candidate” as he enjoys “immense goodwill” on the ground.
In an interview with PTI, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Yadav also said the BJP’s narrative that “jungle raj” will be back with the return of the Mahagathbandhan government was a “tired discourse” and a “classic case” of “crying wolf”.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader said the coming to power of the Mahagathbandhan government with the JD(U), the RJD, the Congress and other parties uniting “augurs well for opposition unity”.
“It signals that most of the Opposition parties recognise the larger challenge before the country – the hegemony of the BJP, where on the back of money, media, and (administrative) machinery power, they are determined to stamp out all diversity from the Indian society as well as from the political spectrum,” he alleged.
It is also a question of regional representation and social justice and development issues at the level of states, Yadav said.
“For all their talk of cooperative federalism, the BJP’s attempt has been to consistently ignore regional disparities. Bihar needs special attention – nobody can deny it. But have we got anything from the Centre? Not quite,” he said.
Yadav asserted that regional parties and other progressive political groups have to look beyond their narrow gains and losses and save the republic, asserting that it will be very difficult to rebuild if “we don’t stop the destruction in its tracks now”.
Asked if Kumar is best-suited to be prime ministerial candidate for 2024 polls and if he could be the Opposition’s nominee, Yadav said, “I leave this question for Honourable Nitish ji. I cannot claim to speak on behalf of the entire Opposition, however, if considered, respected Nitish ji definitely might be a strong candidate.”
For the last 50 years, he has been a social and political activist, having participated in JP and reservation movements, Yadav said.
“He (Kumar) has more than 37 years of vast parliamentary and administrative experience and enjoys immense goodwill on the ground as well as among his peers,” the RJD leader said.
Kumar’s decision to break ties with the BJP, his ally since 1996 except for the period between 2013 and 2017, has fuelled speculation about his prime ministerial bid.
Asked about the several adverse comments he had made about Kumar when the JD(U) leader was in alliance with the BJP, Yadav said if one looks at the similarities and differences between them from a historical, national, contemporary and regional perspective, one will find a meeting of minds and objectives.
“We have emerged from the same churn of socialist movements and broadly share the same values. Sometimes there have been issues but none that are irreconcilable,” he said. (PTI)