Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav today rejected reports of seat-sharing disputes giving rise to cracks in the Bihar grand alliance ahead of the bypolls on October 21, maintaining that all five parties in their political front nurture the common objective of displacing the "anti-people" Janata Dal United-BJP coalition.
In an interview with news agency PTI, Mr Yadav also ruled out any possibility of aligning with Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar - who is currently ruling the state in alliance with the BJP - because of his "chameleon-like" nature. Nitish Kumar used to head a grand alliance government in Bihar before he ditched his allies to rejoin the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in 2017.
"Nitish Kumar helped the RSS and the BJP grow in Bihar, dealing a blow to secular and socialist politics," he told PTI. "When he betrayed us, he also betrayed the core principles on which secular-socialist politics stand. Anybody who believes in progressive politics would be unwilling to accommodate a chameleon-like character like him."
The former Deputy Chief Minister went on to criticise the government's handling of recent floods in Bihar, which killed over 40 people. "The entire state watched helplessly as the insensitive Nitish Kumar administration wilfully neglected their responsibilities. Floods, water logging, acute encephalitis syndrome deaths and the Muzaffarpur shelter home case are nothing but government-created disasters borne through its corrupt practices," he claimed, adding that the ruling coalition's attempts to blame "nature's fury" while trying to hide its own failures have been unsuccessful.
Mr Yadav dismissed reports of discontent in the grand alliance over distribution of seats. "Let us put this in perspective," he said. "These bypolls are for just five assembly segments and this government has only 10 more months to live."
Speculation of turmoil in the grand alliance arose when Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) fielded its candidate against the RJD in Nathnagar, and the Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insan Party resorted to a similar move in the Simri Bakhtiyarpur assembly constituency.
However, Mr Yadav claimed that its allies in the opposition coalition are focused on their common goal of displacing the ruling Janata Dal United-BJP coalition. "All grand alliance partners are well-aware of the anti-people policies of the central and state governments. They will remain united in solidarity with the cause of the people," he said.
The RJD chief told PTI that if the grand alliance is voted to power in Bihar, it will bring about a "massive turnaround" in the fields of education, employment and health. "Besides broadening our network of primary healthcare centres and equipping them with modern equipment, we will introduce people-centric health insurance within six months of forming the government. As for education, we feel that everything from primary schools to universities needs to be repaired urgently," Mr Yadav said.
(With inputs from PTI)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.