Prime Minister Narendra Modi can't create jobs or revive the economy so he is hurling personal barbs, Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav said on Friday, responding to the latest volley of attacks against him ahead of the second phase of the state polls.
"He is the Prime Minister, he can say anything right? I am only asking him very respectfully about jobs, health, agriculture but he can't talk about that. He can't deliver jobs so he is attacking me," Tejashwi Yadav told NDTV while campaigning for the elections.
Labelling him "Jungle Raj ka Yuvraj", Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted Tejashwi Yadav this week citing the 15-year rule of his parents Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi as he warned the people against returning to "darkness".
But unlike the Prime Minister's "jumla (gimmick)" of creating 2 crore jobs a year, Tejashwi Yadav said the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) plans to fill 4.5 lakh vacant positions and create 5.5 lakh new ones to fulfil its campaign promise of 10 lakh jobs was very real.
"We are not talking in the air. We could have promised 50 lakh or 1 crore but we consulted experts to figure out that 10 lakh jobs are totally possible. What has the double-engine government given Bihar in 15 years?" he said, referring to the BJP-Janata Dal (United) coalition.
Taking the attacks against him in stride, he said, "We want to talk about the present and the future. These people can have their rotten pages of history. Were they not in power for 15 years as well? Rs 30,000 crore was swindled in scams. Ask anyone about the kind of corruption still there in every police station."
Tejashwi Yadav firmly denied any political reconfiguration after the elections, ruling out any alliance with Nitish Kumar if the elections threw up a hung assembly.
"We don't compromise on principles. Nitish ji's first and only love is the chair. We know how to honour the mandate of the people. Even if there is a hung mandate, it will be against BJP and Nitish ji. How can we ally with them?" he said.
Bihar is voting in three phases for a new government with the next date of voting on Tuesday. Results are due on November 10.
PM Modi's recent attack on Tejashwi Yadav was seen to be the most direct yet in the campaign for Bihar, and was interpreted by the opposition camp as a sign of anxiety in the BJP, which rules the state in a coalition with Nitish Kumar.
The 31-year-old's rallies have been drawing record crowds and the response to his poll promise of government jobs along with references to the crisis for migrant workers triggered by the government's COVID-19 response has put the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the defensive.