After the exit of Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samta Party) from the NDA and the BJP announcing to contest an equal number of Lok Sabha seats in Bihar as its ally JD(U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said that allies are upset with the BJP over unfulfilled promises and arrogance of its top leaders.
"It's because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah's arrogance... they have not been respecting their allies. If you see, all the NDA alliance partners across the country are either going away or threatening to leave the BJP," Tejashwi Yadav told NDTV.
Tejashwi Yadav, who has been helming the party after his father and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was sent to jail in fodder scam, termed the NDA's seat sharing in Bihar a "knee-jerk reaction" to Upendra Kushwaha joining the Grand Alliance, and said the BJP-led grouping would draw a blank in the state in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Mr Kushwaha's exit had coincided with the BJP's loss in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
The RLSP chief who quit the NDA on December 10 had accused PM Modi of "surrendering" before JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. "The 56-inch chest appears to have shrunken to 36 inches," he tweeted.
The BJP and the JD(U) would fight 17 Lok Sabha seats each in the state and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party would contest the remaining six, besides a Rajya Sabha berth for Mr Paswan.
"The BJP had won 22 seats in 2014 and it is now contesting only 17 seats. JD(U) had won only two but is getting 17. Such an arrangement shows how confident the NDA is. But I am really glad that Ram Vilas Paswan ji reserved a seat in Rajya Sabha because he knows that NDA is going to lose very badly in Bihar," Mr Yadav said.
Talking about the Grand Alliance being envisaged by opposition parties in the country to counter the BJP in the 2019 national election, Mr Yadav said that the concept of mahagathbandhan was started in Bihar.
"No one thought Nitish ji and Lalu ji will come together and fight elections, but you have seen the results. It worked. Even when RJD was the largest party, Nitish chacha was made the chief minister," he said.
He clarified that the grand alliance is only worried about the country and not who will be the prime minister. "Nobody claimed to be the prime minister, but the discussion is around the environment where farmers are committing suicide, women feel unsafe, youth are jobless," he said.
The RJD is preparing to keep the BJP away at both state and national level saying it is going to be the "most important election of our country. It isn't an election to make someone the Prime Minister. This is the election to save our constitution and institutions like the CBI, RBI," he said.
"The situation in our country right now is almost like an unannounced emergency. No one can say anything against the Prime Minister, Amit Shah. If you do, they send agencies after you and put you behind bars. Those who speak the truth are anti-nationalists and liars are promoted in BJP.
People of Bihar know what is happening with my father, what is happening with their leader and they are going to give the answer in the election," he said.
Even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP's ideological mentor, says that the party must replace Narendra Modi with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari if it wishes to win the 2019 general elections.
On reports of bickering between the brothers Tejashwi and Tej Prata Yadav, he said that the "sibling rivalry" is all created by the media and all is well at home.
"Tej Pratap is still saying that Tejashwi is my Arjun. If there is some disagreement, let it stay at home," he said.
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