Prepare for mid-term elections to Bihar Assembly in 2021, Tejashwi tells RJD leaders

At party review meeting, he calls for suggestions, warns of stern action against saboteurs

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday declared that there would be a mid-term Assembly election in Bihar in 2021, and warned of stern action within the party in a review meeting.

“You all should be prepared for mid-term Assembly elections in the State in 2021. The party will also take stern action against those who damaged the prospects of the official RJD candidates contesting the recently concluded Assembly polls in the State,” Mr. Yadav said while addressing party leaders and candidates who had contested in a review meeting at the RJD headquarters in Patna. He further announced that the RJD would organise a “dhanyabad yatra” (thanksgiving journey) after January 14 or Makar Sankranti, for people to vote for the RJD and to make it single-largest party in the State Assembly.

Mr. Yadav also blamed sabotage from within or outside the party for the defeat of RJD candidates in the poll. “We lost poll not due to rival candidates but because of bhitarghat (sabotage from within),” he said. Though some RJD leaders have blamed alliance partner, the Congress, for its poor performance in the poll, which prevented the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) from coming to power, Mr. Yadav refrained from attacking the Congress.

The RJD leader further called for suggestions and advice in writing from candidates who had either won in the recently Assembly polls, or were defeated, to prepare the party for future. Some party leaders like Ritu Jaiswal, who had contested the poll from the Parihar constituency in Sitamarhi district, also blamed the local administration for their defeat. “I and over a dozen RJD candidates in polls were defeated by the local administration. We were leading and winning the polls but in last minute were suddenly informed that we had been defeated,” Ms. Jaiswal said.

But a senior party leader and former minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui slammed the RJD’s polling agents at booths for the defeat of candidates like him. “Our party polling agents delayed reaching the booth. It badly affected party candidates’ prospects,” he said. Mr. Siddiqui and some other party leaders also admitted that the absence of party chief Lalu Prasad during the poll campaign, too, cost the party’s prospects in the poll dearly.

In the State Assembly elections held last month, the RJD emerged as the single largest party, winning 75 seats, followed by the ruling BJP with 74 seats, and the Janata Dal (United) with 43 seats. The mahagathbandhan bagged a total of 110 seats, while the National Democratic Alliance won 125 seats to form the government again.

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