Tejashwi Yadav: Congress still the largest opposition party; Nitish, Lalu will meet Sonia

Unlike many regional parties who are pointing to the Congress’ retreat across the state, RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said it is still the “larger party” in the opposition bloc and others must think “pragmatically” about its relevance.

In an interview to The Indian Express, Yadav said that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi after she returns from abroad, as part of ongoing efforts to forge unity among opposition parties to fight the BJP. In the 2024 general elections.

Defeating the BJP should be the only “personal ambition” of opposition leaders, he said.

“A good start. Bihar has provided a good template and should be replicated elsewhere. Nitishji has met many leaders, Lalu also spoke, I also keep meeting. When Soniaji returns, Nitishji and Laluji will meet her to discuss the way forward. A dialogue has finally started on the next Lok Sabha elections, which was not the case before the development in Bihar,” he said.

Last month, Nitish ended JD(U)’s alliance with BJP and joined hands with RJD, Congress and Left parties to form a new coalition government in Bihar. This, Yadav said, has instilled “hope” in the opposition and started a churning that will be felt across the country in the days to come.

“It will definitely make a difference. Their (BJP’s) strength has already reduced after JD(U) left. Mathematically, the combined vote share of Congress, RJD, JD(U), Left parties is more than 50 per cent. In 39 out of 40 seats in Bihar BJP is not going to repeat the winning performance. Congress got zero seats in Rajasthan, that will not happen again. If we join hands and fight with a strategy, BJP will definitely stay away from the halfway mark,” Yadav said.

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Congress cannot be left out of the reckoning, he said, “We cannot deny the fact that they have more numbers than us in Parliament. In the end, numbers will be the deciding factor, not statements. Others (groups) are mostly confined to their own states. So people have to think realistically and understand the situation.”

Yadav said that the BJP is feeling the heat after the Bihar shift is also reflected in its public stance. “This has made the BJP insecure. They have now started targeting 350 seats to boost the morale of their employees. They wanted to destroy socialist politics. BJP chief JP Nadda has openly called for an end to regional parties. They wanted to break the JD(U). The message of what we did went around the country. It has given hope to the opposition,” Yadav said.

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