INTERVIEW | ‘Employment is main issue. Results will be surprising and shocking for BJP’

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says that people are determined to change the dictatorial rule at the Centre.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi YadavFile photo

Bihar’s former deputy chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav has emerged as a vibrant young face in the state as well as national politics. He predicts a “surprising and shocking” result of Lok Sabha elections for the BJP not only in the 40 parliamentary seats of Bihar but also across the country. “The people are determined to throw out the dictatorial government run by the BJP. Unemployment is the country’s biggest issue in the election,” he said in an interview with Rajesh Kumar Thakur.

Excerpts:

What’s your assessment of the elections?

It is now emerging from people’s response that they are determined to change the dictatorial rule at the Centre. There is an old saying ‘Kath ki handi baar baar nahi chadhti’ (A wooden pot doesn’t boil again and again). The BJP’s days of ‘dictatorial’ politics are getting over. The first phase of polling in Bihar and elsewhere has hinted enough about the ouster of the Modi government.

The BJP and its allies say they will win all 40 seats in Bihar. Your reaction?

I have been saying all along that the results will be surprising and shocking for the BJP. We have forged a strong bond with the people of Bihar, which cuts across caste and community lines. The BJP-led NDA is not comfortable in any constituency as they continue to divert the people’s attention from pressing issues. ‘Public hai sab jan gayi hai’ (people know everything). The impression about them is that they are a deceiver; and make promises to forget them). The Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of which the RJD is a part will win maximum seats as the people want change at the Centre for the sake of the country’s democracy and development.

You raised the unemployment issue very strongly in the assembly polls. Do you think it is effective enough in the Lok Sabha elections?

Employment is the biggest issue. The availability of equal opportunities for all youngsters will address the fault lines that all political parties have exploited for their own benefit until now. I’d like every young person to get equal opportunities in education so that they can perform their best. We have provided such opportunities during our tenure and have promised again to continue with such initiatives. Students, women, farmers, businessmen and employees want poverty eradication and an effective check on inflation immediately.

The BJP-led Centre has promised many things under ‘Modi ki guarantee….’

His guarantee is like the writing on water. It is nothing but yet another crafted move to mislead people. People know the truth about what BJP leaders promise and what they deliver, especially on such crucial issues as unemployment and poverty eradication.

BJP leaders often accuse the INDIA bloc of saving the corrupt. They also say that no leader in the opposition can match Modi…

I think those who keep repeating such claims are hypocrites. The BJP has welcomed people into the party fold with corruption charges and given them nominations. The INDIA bloc is home to several popular leaders, whereas in the NDA, PM Modi is the centre of power. No leader other than him can or will be allowed to grow in the BJP or NDA.

Another allegation is about playing appeasement politics. Your party is accused of thriving only on the Muslim-Yadav equation…

We take everyone along without any discrimination. It’s the BJP that has politicised religion and thrives on religious polarisation. If, after 10 years in power, you (BJP) and some of your supporters feel powerless and angry, then it’s worth reflecting what kind of politics you are doing.

What is your party’s stand on caste census and reservation in the private sector?

This is the time of evidence-based policymaking. We need data to create inclusive and sustainable development policies. We need updated data to make responsive policies. This is the prime objective behind the survey, which will also include collecting caste backgrounds. It is not entirely focused on reservations; it is to plan better and make targeted policies instead of a one-size-fits-all policymaking approach.

What do you think about dynastic politics and the issue of corruption? Do you think these are prominent issues in the elections?

PM Modi needs to take the questions on both issues, and I am very sure he won’t have answers to the tough questions. The BJP and NDA are deep into accommodating families as well as corrupt individuals. They own both these issues proudly. They don’t think the basic standards of political morality apply to them.

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