Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming three-phase Bihar elections and Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly, is set to begin his poll campaign from Rosera in Samastipur district on Tuesday afternoon.
The campaign will start following the filing of nomination papers by his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav. The RJD has launched a campaign theme song titled “Is baar, Tejashwi Tay hai, Tejashwi Bhavo” (this time around, Tejashwi is final), driving home the message that the party chief Lalu Prasad’s scion is certain to get the top job in Bihar.
A video, which is a part of the RJD’s outreach programme for the electorate via a virtual medium amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, has also been released.
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The video highlighted the glaring failures of the Nitish Kumar-led government in providing jobs for youths, rampant migration, worsening law and order, grinding poverty and an acute agrarian crisis.
Tejashwi, a sitting lawmaker from Raghopur seat, will file his nomination papers on Wednesday. He is the most prominent star campaigner of the party in the absence of his father, who is in jail in Ranchi following his indictment in multiple fodder scam cases.
Tejashwi has made unemployment of youths and migration of labourers his primary poll agenda in a bid to garner support of young voters in the assembly elections.
He has set 10 lakh permanent jobs in the state government as his initial target, if he is voted to power. “If I come to power, I will sign the file for providing 10 lakh jobs in the state government during my first Cabinet meeting,” he recently said while blaming Kumar for not filling up vacancies in key departments such as health, education, police etc; during his 15-year-old uninterrupted rule.
He singled out Kumar’s inaction, as the primary reason for rampant migration of youths from the state.
The ruling Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have countered the RJD’s narrative of rampant unemployment and migration, as an attempt by the main opposition party to defame the state. On Monday, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi took a dig at Tejashwi obliquely for the latter’s lack of educational qualification.
Modi also wondered whether former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who has been named as one of the Congress’s star campaigners for the Bihar elections, would share the stage with Tejashwi.
“It would be interesting to see whether former PM Singh shares the stage with RJD ‘s CM candidate, who has studied until Grade IX. Will Singh explain why Bihar’s economy took a beating and the public was forced to migrate between 1990 and 2005? The voters should ask these questions to the Congress’s star campaigners,” Modi tweeted.
The RJD is fighting the assembly elections in alliance with the Congress and the Left parties, as part of the Mahagatbandhan, or grand alliance (GA), which was formed ahead of the last state polls in 2015.
The JD (U), the RJD and the Congress had taken on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) five years ago. But two years on, CM Kumar did a U-turn and realigned with the BJP and snapped ties with the GA.
Tejashwi has been vocal against CM Kumar in the run-up to the polls, accusing the latter of betraying the voters’ mandate.
Manoj Jha, a Rajya Sabha member and the RJD’s national spokesperson, cited a wave in favour of Tejashwi and claimed that the party’s theme song had won the hearts and minds of the voters, who were ready for a change of guard at 1 Anne Marg (the CM’s residence in Patna).
“The RJD government will fulfil its promise by providing 10 lakh jobs in the initial months after coming to power. The sight of migrant returnees walking on roads during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-induced lockdown restrictions will not be repeated again. Nitish Kumar has deceived the public and indulged in gimmickry for the past 15 years,” he alleged.
Former CM Rabri Devi, Prasad’s eldest daughter and RS member Misa Bharti, eldest son Tej Pratap, state president Jagdanand Singh are some of the other star campaigners for the RJD.
Party sources said Tejashwi is expected to address around 400 meetings in 144 assembly constituencies at least twice. He is also likely to attend a meeting in the other 99 seats in the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly.
Bihar goes to polls on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be declared on November 10.
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