Boosted by the entry of former NDA constituent, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), into the opposition coalition in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday said a "pre-poll grand alliance" was imperative to defeat the BJP government at the centre.
With another NDA partner Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) expressing unease with the BJP, Tejashwi Yadav hinted at paying court to the Ram Vilas Paswan-led party to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Days after quitting the Modi government, RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha formally joined the UPA at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha Jitan Ram Manjhi and several Congress leaders.
"There was speculation about whether Kushwaha would join the UPA. Today his party is part of the grand alliance. It was Kushwaha's decision to join, nobody forced him. Similarly whether or not the LJP will join the grand alliance, that is their decision. But the country's (political) climate is changing, you need to wait and see," said Tejashwi Yadav reacting to reports of the LJP's unease with the BJP over seat-sharing pact in Bihar.
While Tejashwi Yadav remained tight-lipped about any bid to woo Mr Paswan to the grand alliance, sources said leaders of the Congress and the RJD were mulling a meeting with the LJP chief.
Tejashwi Yadav accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of imposing an "undeclared emergency" in the country and wrecking democratic institutions, saying a "pre-poll grand alliance" of opposition parties was the need of the hour.
"Opposition parties had a meeting at parliament annexe where the discussions were positive. The first step towards a grand alliance is being taken and I hope all opposition parties must unite and contest the Lok Sabha polls together to defeat the BJP. If we don't unite, people will not forgive us," he said exuding hope that Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would sooner or later become a part of the anti-BJP "grand alliance".
"Like-minded parties opposed to the BJP are steadily uniting. Both the SP and the BSP need not be told, they know what they should do. And I believe, their decision would be based on what the people of the country want, which is to get rid of the Modi government," he said.
Remaining evasive about whether his party was open to the idea of Rahul Gandhi being the prime ministerial face of the grand alliance, Tejashwi Yadav praised the leadership qualities of the Congress president.
"The issue is not who will be the Prime Minister, the issue is whether our Constitution, our country will be will be protected or not from the BJP onslaught. The recent assembly poll results have displayed Gandhi's leadership qualities. The way he is striving to bring all opposition parties to a single platform is praiseworthy. I believe opposition parties are uniting and we will together defeat the Modi regime," said Tejashwi Yadav.