Apparently undeterred by the fact that he was unceremoniously dumped by his ally Nitish Kumar, Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Yadav is continuing with his efforts to forge opposition unity. Lalu does not believe Nitish joining hands with the BJP is a blow to these efforts and is planning an opposition rally in Patna to make a statement. Excerpts from a telephone interview with ThePrint Associate Editor Kumar Anshuman:
Opposition unity seems to be in trouble after Nitish Kumar walked out.
There is no trouble at all. People of Bihar have watched everything that unfolded in the last few days. Nitish didn’t ditch me, he cheated the people who voted for him. They were saying that Congress MLAs are with them. But no one voted for him. I have been fighting throughout my life and am not scared. I am ready to take another fight to dethrone the BJP government. Just wait and watch.
You have reached out to both Akhilesh and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh. Is there any development on that front?
I have spoken to both behen Mayawati-ji and Akhilesh a number of times recently. Yes, I have appealed to both of them to come together to defeat the communal agenda of the BJP. I have invited them to the opposition rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on 27 August. That day you will see how strong we are. Both Akhilesh and Mayawati will attend the Patna rally. We all are one in the mission of ‘BJP Bhagao Desh Bachao’ (Throw BJP out, Save India).
You are also trying to forge an alliance with the BSP in Bihar.
Not only Bihar, I will forge alliances with all anti-BJP parties across the country. I have offered Rajya Sabha to behen Mayawati-ji as BJP and their partners didn’t allow the daughter of a Dalit to speak in Parliament.
Do you think going with Nitish Kumar in 2015 was a mistake?
Defeating the communal agenda of the BJP is my first priority and I entered into an alliance supporting Nitish as the CM. Our party had the highest number of MLAs but I fulfilled my promise. I even gave the speaker of the assembly position to his party. I treated him as a chhota bhai but he went with the BJP.
Are you also in talks with Sharad Yadav who seems to be unhappy over the formation of a new government in Bihar?
I spoke to Sharad-ji as he is our senior leader. I have requested him to lead this fight against the BJP’s divisive agenda and we all are with him. He is disappointed with the new arrangement in Bihar. Just wait for some time and we will all emerge as a strong anti-BJP force in the coming days. I campaigned extensively during the Bihar election to ensure a victory for the alliance. Now I will present the real face of Nitish Kumar before the people. They are targeting me and my family with CBI cases to scare me. But actually, they are scared of Lalu Yadav. I know their hidden agenda very well.