Patna: With murmurs of rift within the Grand Alliance in Bihar gaining momentum in the aftermath of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav choosing to avoid sharing dais with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi during his recent campaign stops in north Bihar, the members of the alliance on Monday held a joint press conference in Patna in an attempt to dispel the rumors of crack in the Mahagathbandhan.
A day before people in Bihar head to the polling booths for the third phase of the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls, Yadav held a joint press conference with Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) president Upendra Kushwaha, and Congress state president Madan Mohan Jha during which each denied any wrinkle in the alliance saying Tejaswi Yadav could not be at Gandhi's rallies due to some personal reasons and not due to any political differences.
Tejaswi Yadav, whose campaign is being increasingly described as lackluster and uninspiring in the absence of his star campaigner and father Lalu Prasad Yadav, tore into Nitish Kumar saying the Chief Minister had utterly failed in maintaining law and order in Bihar and even his much-hyped prohibition had become a joke as liquor was freely delivered in homes by illicit traders.
"Instead of enforcing prohibition law, the ban on alcohol is being used to make money by those who have high connections in the government as Nitish Kumar looks the other way. Also, whatever happened to the Chief Minister's demand for special status? The NDA says Bihar has the government of 'double engine' so why no special package for Bihar? These people have cheated the people of Bihar and the same people will now teach them a lesson by throwing them out of power," the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
Both Kushwaha and Manjhi stuck to their politics of reservation saying despite NDA denying it was planning to end reservation as we know it today, well-known sources in the NDA say otherwise.
"If they are such a big champion of reservation then they should explain why there are no judges who come from the backward community," Kushwaha said.
Congress leader Madan Mohan Jha reminded Nitish Kumar of Narendra Modi's comment about 'bad DNA' of the Janata Dal – U leader.
"Nitish used to describe BJP as 'Badka Jhuttha Party'. When Modi disparaged his DNA, Nitish Kumar sent tons of Bihari nails and hair samples so the Prime Minister could carry out a scientific test on their DNAs. Now the same Nitish Kumar is standing side-by-side with Modi talking about duties and morality," Jha said.
The Congress leader also reminded party's recent victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh saying whatever promise Rahul Gandhi had made to the voters in those states, he fulfilled it in less than 10 days.
He also said that NDA was mistreating and torturing Lalu Prasad Yadav in jail though he did not provide any evidence of it.