PATNA: The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) today declared Lalu Prasad's son and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav as its chief ministerial candidate for the next Assembly election in the state.
A resolution on this was adopted at the party's national council-cum-open session meet here which was attended by the party's top leaders.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was formally declared as having been elected, unopposed, as the party's national president for the 10th consecutive term at the meet.
Senior party leader Jagdanand Singh read out the resolution that the party will fight the next Bihar Assembly election under the leadership of Yadav, who would also head the government in the event of the RJD winning the poll.
The next election to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly is scheduled for 2020.
Speculations have been rife about Tejashwi Yadav, Prasad's younger son, being declared the party's face for the next state polls.
A few days ago, Prasad stated that Tejashwi Yadav was "able" and "mature" and that there was nothing wrong if people were talking about him as the party's chief ministerial candidate.
Tejaswi Yadav is at present the leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
He served as the Deputy Chief Minister in the 'Grand Alliance' government of the RJD, JD(U) and the Congress.
The 'Grand Alliance' collapsed in July this year after the JD(U) deserted it and joined hands with the BJP to form the government.
Speaking on the occasion, Prasad lambasted the Narendra Modi government for its failure to keep the promise of "achhe din" and called Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a "finished chap".
The RJD chief claimed that NDA governments, both at the Centre and in the state, would not retain power.
"The Narendra Modi government's fortunes have started dwindling. Now the entire country is on the boil. They want to create tension in the name of Lord Ram and also by creating division among Ram and Rahim in order to influence elections.
But we will have to fight it out firmly," Prasad said, referring to the Hindu-Muslim discord.
To underscore that the Sangh Parivar has been opposed to Dalits rising to higher positions, Prasad alleged, "Jayaprakash Narayan wanted to make Jagjivan Ram the Prime Minister when the Janata Party won (in 1977). But those associated with the Sangh did not let it happen."
Seeking to clarify the impression of his party being against forward castes, Prasad, a champion of the "Mandal movement" on job reservation, said, "The upper castes need not harbour any apprehensions about my party."
Speaking on the occasion, Tejashwi Yadav said, "A defamatory campaign is on against me and my entire family...
The country is under a dictatorial rule. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are working towards implementing the RSS agenda. The entire nation is looking towards Lalu with hope since it is known that he can take on the BJP and the RSS. Hence the persistent attacks on us."
Recalling that he was given "a huge responsibility" by being made the state's Deputy Chief Minister at a young age, Yadav attacked Nitish Kumar for switching sides and joining the NDA despite having fought the 2015 elections in alliance with the RJD and the Congress.
"The chief minister's immense attachment to his chair can make him cheat anybody. He should tell the people of the state how liquor continues to be sold in Bihar despite prohibition. He brags about his own development record while belittling Lalu. Let him compare their respective records as Railway Minister," Yadav said.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were Prasad's wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, party vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Prasad's elder son and former state minister Tej Pratap Yadav.