Congress the spoiler

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KC Tyagi, Janata Dal United leader, Rajya Sabha member and the party’s National Spokesperson, is one of the senior-most socialist ideologues in the country having a career spanning over 40 years. He spoke to Parliamentarian’s Lucknow Bureau Chief Srawan Shukla

In the changing political scenario after Narendra Modi taking over NDA III, Tyagi candidly admits that socialist movement in the country, particularly in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is on the downslide and all political parties are affected by the new political dispensation. A true Gandhian philosopher, Tyagi feels that it is better to be part of the change rather than to go into political oblivion. The senior JDU leader dwelt at length on explaining the meaning of fresh NDA and JDU tie-up and tried hard to dispel doubts and allegations about his party setting a new model of political opportunism to remain in power.

Tyagi squarely blamed the Congress for opposition disunity in the country, particularly in Bihar. “The JDU had made serious attempts at the national level for opposition unity but the Congress seems to have lost the willpower to rule. They emerged as power to ruin than to rule. The Congress is the biggest opposition party. They are the focal point for opposition unity. The entire opposition could have come under one platform if Congress wanted,” pointed out Tyagi.

Explaining the reasons for JDU joining hands with the NDA, Tyagi clarified that till the last minute, JDU was making efforts to save the ‘mahagathbandhan’ but the Congress backtracked at the last moment. “A day before Nitish Kumar decided to resign, two senior Congress leaders in Delhi were requested to be in Patna and convince Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwai Yadav to explain his position to the people of Bihar after CBI charge-sheeted him.

But the Congress did not make any efforts to save the grand alliance, leaving no choice with Nitish to break ties with the RJD and joined back NDA to continue serving people of Bihar,” he clarified.

He argued that if Sharad Yadav could quit Lok Sabha when his name figured in Jain Hawala diaries, then why not Tejashwi Yadav who faced CBI charge-sheet, IT and DRI raids? “The Congress and the RJD had created such political turmoil in Bihar that it was impossible for Nitish to continue with the grand alliance. Since Bihar flourished under Nitish in NDA I and II we had no choice than to join back the NDA for carrying out development of the once most backward state,” clarified Tyagi. The JDU leader also sought to clarify that the party follows zero tolerance on corruption and it was one of the major reasons for the party joining the NDA I and II and later the VP Singh. But he failed to give a convincing reply on joining hands with the fodder scam accused Lalu Prasad’s RJD.

The JDU Rajya Sabha member claimed that people of Bihar know well the political compulsions of Nitish Kumar to take this hard decision. “Nitish is a man of development who shaped up New Bihar and transformed the state into one of the most progressive ones by controlling crime, creating infrastructure, power availability, roads, health, medical care and education sectors in the last 12 years,” he added.

“We were criticised by all when JDU had parted ways with NDA and joined the ‘mahagathbandhan’. But Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi are not the same. There is a huge difference between their political thought processes. Bihar and its people have their own political understanding, and they are known for new political experiments. It was in this background that JDU parted ways with NDA and struck a pre-poll grand alliance even after BJP making a clean sweep in 2014 Lok Sabha polls,” said Tyagi.

On the question of denying ticket to socialist stalwart George Fernandes from Muzaffarnagar, the JDU leader claimed that it was done on the latter’s health grounds. But within a month, he was sent to Rajya Sabha. “Even if he is political inactive due to ill-health, George Fernandes would remain the senior-most socialist leader in the country. “Every month we go to his residence and pay our respects,” he added.

Tyagi rubbished that the decision to join back NDA has cast any shadow on the political stature of Nitish Kumar. “JDU never passed any resolution to project Nitish Kumar as PM candidate. But, yes, after 12 years of good governance in Bihar, he is PM material. Today, he has emerged as an alternative to Narendra Modi. With just two MPs, JDU is not in a position to project him as PM candidate but people of the country do feel that he is an alternative to Modi,” said he.

Though he tried hard to explain his party’s position on recent the political turmoil in Bihar, many people of the state remained unconvinced. Though Tyagi ducked a volley of targeted questions from the audience but he stoutly defended Nitish Kumar and JDU’s decision to carry out their development agenda under Modi.

“Bihar is the birthplace of the socialist movement in the country. From Gandhi, Dr Lohia to Jai Prakash Narayan and many more, each one of them had taken the socialist movement to a new height in their own ways. But the political situation is changed now. Except for Nitish Kumar, I find there is no other true socialist leader left in the country. When the socialist movement is on the downslide people of Bihar carry their own sub-nationalism which is popularly called Biharism. Nitish Kumar would go down into history if he succeeded in carrying forward their agenda,” claimed Tyagi.

What political benefits did Bihar get after JDU’s fresh entry into NDA remains to be seen. As of now, the JDU did not get any berth in the Modi Cabinet. Nitish also failed to extract the promised financial aid following Bihar floods. Against Rs 5,000 crore in flood relief package demanded, the Nitish government got a paltry Rs 500 crore.

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