PATNA: RJD MLA Bhai Virendra on Sunday called upon all opposition MPs to resign in protest against the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “lead the nation” in the fight against “threat to democracy”. The MLA, who is also his party’s chief spokesperson, made the remark at a function, where Kumar was also present, to mark the birth anniversary of veteran leader and former Union minister Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav.
“The honourable chief minister has set an example for opposition unity,” said the RJD legislator in an obvious reference to the JD(U) leader’s exit from the BJP-led NDA last year.
“In my view, what has happened to Rahul Gandhi is not the end. It could just be the beginning. My leader (Deputy CM) Tejashwi Yadav is already facing persecution. I may be the next in line. It is high time, therefore, that the entire opposition plunged into the fight against the threat to democracy,” he said.
“All opposition MPs could make a beginning by resigning (their membership of Parliament). And thereafter, may our chief minister lead the nation in the fight,” added Virendra.
The RJD MLA, who represents Maner in the assembly, reiterated his views when journalists approached him with queries after the function was over.
Incidentally, the RJD has no MP in the Lok Sabha, having drawn a blank in the 2019 general elections though it has quite a few members, including party supremo Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter Misa Bharati, in the Rajya Sabha.
However, in his address to the function, the seasoned Kumar deftly skirted the issue even as he took a jibe at BJP MP from Pataliputra Ram Kripal Yadav, who was among the attendees.
“I share an old relationship with Ram Kripal Yadav. How much respect he used to enjoy when he was with the RJD. Now, in the BJP look at him, with this strange thing on his head,” said Kumar, referring to a hat Yadav wore over his tonsured head.
Yadav had served as a Union minister in the first Narendra Modi administration but has since been cooling his heels despite retaining his seat, for the BJP, defeating Misa Bharti for the second consecutive term.
When journalists sought his reaction on the wily JD(U) leader’s apparent bid to fish in troubled waters, Yadav, responded testily.
“He is pointing out to my past. What is his past? Was he not in the Janata Dal which he broke away from to join hands with the BJP? Is it not suspected that he may again do a volte face?” said a visibly shaken Yadav, who also alleged that Kumar made a below-the-belt remark “because I highlighted the plight of education in the state in my speech”.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification continued to stir the choppy political waters of Bihar where the Congress is part of the ruling ‘Mahagathbandhan’, though viewed as a spent force.
Congress workers staged a seven-hour-long demonstration at the historic Gandhi Maidan. They alleged their leader had paid the price for raising the allegations of corporate fraud against the Adani Group and stressed on the need for a ‘Satyagraha’ against the government’s alleged high-handedness.