'Won't work for Muslims, Yadavs as they didn't vote for me': JD(U) MP Devesh Chandra Thakur

Thakur said he stood by his statement and added that it was a lesson for him and also for others who are in active politics.
JD(U) MP Devesh Chandra Thakur (R) with Bihar Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar.
JD(U) MP Devesh Chandra Thakur (R) with Bihar Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar.Photo | Facebook

PATNA: Janata Dal (United) MP Devesh Chandra Thakur on Monday stoked a major controversy with his remarks that he will not accept requests for help from people belonging to Muslim and Yadav communities because they didn’t vote for him in the recently held Lok Sabha election.

Thakur, who won the Sitamarhi seat with a 51,000 margin over Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Arjun Ray, said he had helped people from the two communities as a JD(U) leader. But when it came to voting in elections, Thakur claimed that the members of both communities did not vote for him because of the party’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"Those (from Muslim and Yadav communities) who want to come, can come, have tea and snacks, and then leave, but don't expect any help. When you saw Narendra Modi's image in the arrow (JD-U's symbol), why shouldn’t I see the lantern (RJD's symbol) and Lalu Yadav's face in yours?… It takes two to clap," Thakur said.

"For any work concerning the society at large, they are welcome, but not for any personal work,” he added.

Thakur said it was a point he had been making in his speeches during his tour of the constituency to thank people for electing him from the Sitamarhi seat.

And despite his victory, Thakur said he was disappointed about the drop in his vote share and votes. Thakur secured 515,719 votes (47.14% vote share) and beat RJD’s Arjun Rai by a margin of 51,000.

On the other hand, his predecessor, Sunil Kumar Pintu of the JD-U, who had won the Sitamarhi seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, secured 567,745 votes (54.65% vote share) in the previous election, defeating Arjun Rai of the RJD by a margin of 250,000 votes.

“Some people will do the same but not say so; I have openly said it, as I discovered during an analysis of the decline in the victory margin,” Thakur remarked while addressing a function held to felicitate him after being elected as a member of Lok Sabha.

Thakur, who resigned last week as chairman and member of the Bihar Legislative Council after being elected to the Lok Sabha, said that he stood by his statement. He said that he always acted as a politician who was above caste and creed and never differentiated on caste or religious basis.

"But I was wrong. I was disappointed with the response of the people during the Lok Sabha election. I worked for all sections of society without making any difference, either on caste or religious lines. But when it came to voting, they voted against me," he said with disappointment writ large on his face.

The JD(U) leader said that he has been in active politics for the last three decades but never came across this bare fact. "The analysis of the election results shook me from within. I was taken aback, as I had always helped people from Yadav and Muslim communities during my political journey," he disclosed.

He said that it was a lesson for him and also for others who are in active politics. "Those in active politics should learn from what happened with me," he told TNIE over the phone.

Meanwhile, the RJD hit back at Thakur, saying that his statement showed his utter disappointment for not being inducted into the Narendra Modi cabinet despite being close to the chief minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar.

"One should not make such remarks while remaining in public life. But it is also true that Devesh Chandra Thakur is in utter disappointment for not becoming a minister at the centre. His name was doing the rounds ahead of the formation of the Narendra Modi cabinet," said an RJD leader.

RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari said, "He should not have said such a thing. Once the election is over, he is the MP of the constituency… He should not isolate himself from any caste or creed."

Meanwhile, BJP OBC Morcha cell general secretary Nikhil Anand said that no political party can ignore people belonging to Yadav community, which has 14% of the state’s population.

The BJP believes in the betterment of all sections of society. Altogether, 27 ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet at the centre come from OBC and four of them are from the Yadav caste alone, he remarked.

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