Prohibition of alcohol in Bihar -- seen as the one of the key causes of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's victory in 2016 -- was shredded today by his former deputy Tejashwi Yadav. The 29-year-old was canvassing for Jitan Ram Manjhi, an arch-rival of the Chief Minister, when he targeted Mr Kumar's favourite project that had the state's women solidly backing him.
Addressing a crowd of thousands in Mohanpur near Gaya, Mr Yadav said, "I'm the greatest supporter of prohibition. But tell me, is liquor now available or not," drawing a roar of "yes" from the crowd. "Are you getting the home delivery of liquor," he questioned again. When the crowd shouted agreement, Tejashwi Yadav said, "The same bottle which used to cost 200, now you pay 1500... the extra 1300 goes into Paltu Chacha account".
Paltu chacha was a pejorative for the Chief Minister, coined due to his rapid change to allies - from BJP to Congress and RJD and back again to BJP, all within five years.
Realising he has the crowd's full attention, Tejashwi Yadav coined another. "In childhood, I saw a movie called Chachi 420 and in real life, I saw Chacha 420," he said, recalling the hugely popular Kamal Hassan starrer from the '90s.
The political heir of Lalu Yadav, who appears to have inherited his mass connect, Tejashwi Yadav is the star campaigner of the opposition. Every day he hops from one rally or a public meeting to another, covering at least four. But like Nitish Kumar, he does not talk of Pulwama terror attack or Balakot air strike, and focuses on the immediate concerns of the common man - jobs and reservation.
Asked why he is not supporting CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai, he said, he said, "Wait, my candidate Tanvir Hasan is equally strong and we will defeat the BJP there".
Asked who would be his choice for Prime Minister, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi or Mayawati, he said, "We are in the UPA and the Congress as the single largest party has the right to choose the leader and see how Rahul-ji is evolving".