Even If I Die, RJD Won't Compromise With Its Ideology, Says Lalu Prasad Yadav
The RJD supremo said he never wanted Nitish Kumar to be part of the Mahagathbandhan but relented when he came running to his house to seek his blessings.
File photo of RJS supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. (CNN-News18)
New Delhi: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday said Nitish Kumar’s decision to switch alliance to the BJP would prove to be a historical mistake and the Bihar Chief Minister will never form his own legacy. In an interview with CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil, Lalu cleared the air on the premature death of the Mahagathbandhan, the corruption allegations against his family and the next step for him and his party. He also emphatically denied media reports that he had earlier attempted to strike a deal with the BJP and offered to destabilise the Nitish Kumar government to make the charges go away.
Marya: You said Nitish Kumar has teeth in his stomach. If you knew him so well, why did you form an alliance in 2015?
Lalu: Ever since the BJP government came to power under the leadership of PM Modi and Amit Shah, we have seen a lot of things happen against the minorities. Demands for Ram Mandir by groups like Hindu Yuva Vahini and Bajrang Dal have also gone up.
Whatever I had said has been proven right. I had said that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the nation will either flourish or disintegrate. I said this long back and people laughed it off then.
I was a political science student. In political science, one can forecast. My forecast was right. Today there is an Emergency-like situation. You've seen what happened during the note ban. When you talk about beef, it was under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah's leadership that India became the largest exporter of beef.
I had said Nitish will not have a legacy. Even during 1995 and 2014 elections, he lost but I fought alone with 4-5 lakh votes. In '95, Bihar and Jharkhand were united, like Tejashwi said on Friday. But Nitish won only seven seats. He was reminded of his status when he formed the Samta Party. Nitish is like a younger brother. He should remain younger.
Marya: But in 2015 it was a joint mandate.
Lalu: I noticed that wherever there was a divided vote, BJP was winning. It lost where it fought against a united opposition. So to stop this division of votes, Nitish was approached. A meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Deve Gowda and other leaders was organised. We decided that we should come together on a single platform and fight to stop the BJP from winning. I'll tell you from my heart that I never wanted Nitish to be part of this… because I knew him from the very beginning.
Marya: Were you wrong in reading him?
Lalu: That was my mistake. I can still tell about the time when he came running to me in my house and asked me for one more chance and my blessing. Rabri Devi and my two children were also there. He said that we’re getting old, we two brothers should get my children to get into politics in future. Nitish's son is not capable of getting into politics. So I told him to go ahead and gave him my blessings.
I got the declaration done by Mulayam Singh Yadav. Had I declared from Delhi then the public would've said that Lalu has surrendered to Nitish Kumar. That's why I got the declaration done by Mulayam. There was a press conference too. This man (Nitish Kumar) had flawed thinking from the very beginning. When the Mahagathbandhan was formed, it was decided that a coordination committee, a minimum common programme should be made, but till today no committee has been formed.
Marya: Did you ask for the formation of the coordination committee?
Lalu: Any major decision should be taken in the interest of the state. For example, during the presidential election, nobody even asked us about our opinion. It's a Mahagathbandhan. We should've sat together and had a discussion. This man (Nitish) ignored us and went ahead with his own decision without discussing or consulting with us. I told Nitish not to make this historic mistake.
Marya: So you warned him?
Lalu: Yes. Nitish would be watching this. I had told him not make this historic mistake. When I decided to vote for Meira Kumar, I addressed a press conference and said then also that he was making a big mistake. This is the same Nitish, who used to talk about a sangh-free India. I wouldn't compromise with the party's ideology. Even if I die or get hanged, there will be no compromise with the party's ideology. This is what I told Sonia ji and other party leaders in that meeting. I say this today too.
Marya: Was there some kind of communication gap between you and Nitish Kumar?
Lalu: No, he was secretly following his own way. You know I'm an outspoken person, I say things in the open. Nitish’s spokespersons spread talk that he is Prime Minister-material, that he has good morals and personality. Everybody knows about this. I'm not making this up. Now see, he was expecting that everybody would project him in a way so that he becomes the next PM candidate.
Marya: Do you think only because Nitish Kumar’s name was not announced and efforts were not made to project him as the PM candidate, he took a different turn?
Lalu: Even Mamata Banerjee spoke about him. Nitish was hurt by her statement. How could we make him the PM candidate? Aren't there better people than him?
Marya: When Nitish Kumar went to the Raj Bhavan at 6:30pm to submit his resignation, a parliamentary board meeting was taking place at the same time in Delhi. In Bihar, BJP's core group was meeting. PM Modi also tweeted immediately. The way it all unfolded, the question that arises is whether all this was choreographed.
Lalu: Absolutely. This was a fixed match. Sushil Modi was made to do press conferences for public consumption so that people’s attention was diverted. I was very confident that Nitish Kumar would never join the BJP, but there was a serious doubt as well. Every kid in Bihar knows that Nitish is not a good man. Nitish told me that he wanted to give more responsibilities to Tejashwi and that he didn't ask for his resignation.
Marya: Did he ask for a point-by-point rebuttal on the allegations against Tejashwi?
Lalu: The suggestion that an MP or MLA should resign immediately after an FIR was filed against them in a corruption case was also discussed in the Parliament, but it was rejected outright. The decision should come from the courts.
Marya: Nitish Kumar said in the House that you are using the card of secularism to hide from corruption charges.
Lalu: He has no answers to the questions raised on the allegations against Tejashwi. He completed his statement within 5 minutes. He got his direct telecast also stopped.
Marya: What is next for Indian politics, and Lalu Yadav and his family, given the fact that your children's political career has just started?
Lalu: My children's political career is very bright. Our party's future is bright. Bihar's public knows that Lalu is not going to be bowed down by fascist and communal forces. If I had to make a deal, then I would've talked to Narendra Modi.
Marya: Didn't you ever have any meetings with any of the ministers in the Centre?
Lalu: Never. Some rumours were floated through Nitish Kumar’s men that Lalu is talking with central ministers to postpone his (corruption) cases. He was caught supporting BJP during surgical strikes and the note ban. People now know that he wanted to join the BJP and that's why he spread these rumours.
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