Newly sworn-in Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Friday, 12 August, days before the new government faces a floor test on 24 August.
Besides Gandhi, he also met CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and party general secretary D Raja on Friday to discuss the recent political developments in Bihar.
"The new non-BJP government in Bihar will pave way for the entire country," he said after the meeting.
"Biharis are not for sale, they are durable. People of Bihar are not scared of anyone," he added.
He is also scheduled to meet RJD supremo Lalu Yadav to reportedly finalise the names of the cabinet ministers.
The cabinet, which at present comprises only Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Yadav as his deputy, is due for expansion early next week.
Tejashwi's visit to Delhi comes three days after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke off the JD(U)'s alliance with the BJP in the state and formed a new government as part of the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance (including the Congress and RJD).
While Kumar took over as chief minister again on 10 August, Yadav was sworn in as his deputy.
‘Slap in the Face of BJP’: Yadav on Nitish Kumar’s Exit
Commenting on Nitish Kumar breaking ties with the BJP, Tejashwi Yadav said on Friday that Kumar made the "right decision at the right time" and that his decision was a "slap in the face of the BJP," reported NDTV.
Yadav said, "In Bihar, all parties against the BJP are now on the same side. Nitish ji made the right decision at the right time. This will happen across India now.”
He accused the BJP of attempting to “intimidate or buy out” regional parties with an aim of “finishing off the politics of backward classes and Dalits."
Yadav said that regional parties constitute mostly of backward classes and Dalits and if they cease to exist, then "that will kill democracy."
“If there are no regional parties, there will be no Opposition in the country. And that will kill democracy. The BJP wants to rule like a monarchy,” he added.
Yadav said that he intends to walk the path of his father, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is currently recuperating from medical issues in New Delhi. He said, “My father has fought communal forces all his life, fought for social justice and for the poor. Woh na dare, na jhuke."
Nitish Kumar, too, “saved his ideology” by joining hands with the RJD, he added.
Regarding Kumar's history of switching parties, he said, “We have made allegations against each other. But we are one family. We are all socialists."
Recalling an anecdote about Nitish Kumar, Yadav said, "Once during a lot of chaos in the House, he called me his “bhai samaan dost ka beta” (son of a brother-like friend). Another time, he told me “Babu baith jao” (sit down, son) — it was like an instruction, but also love, like a blessing. I sat down.”
Yadav also told ANI that if Narendra Modi can become the prime minister, then "anybody can become the prime minister of the country."
He emphasised that if all Opposition parties can unite, then they can unitedly pull down the agendas of the NDA government.
Yadav alleged that PM Modi has not fulfilled his promise of "2 crore jobs a year" and vowed that employment will be created in Bihar. He added that its a good sign that the BJP and media are “finally talking about pressing matters” and not focusing on “communal politics of Hindu-Muslim divide”.
“It's an achievement that we have forced them into addressing real issues. We will keep our promises. Just wait a little bit.”
Congress MLA Writes to Sonia Gandhi, Seeks Berth in New Cabinet
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Chhatrapati Yadav wrote a letter to both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, demanding a berth in the new Cabinet headed by Nitish Kumar, by virtue of his caste.
"I have written a letter to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, formally requesting them to consider me since my induction into the Cabinet will send a strong message among the OBCs, particularly, the Yadavs. I am the only Yadav MLA from the party in Bihar," he said, according to news agency PTI.
"My late father Rajendra Prasad Yadav had served in the Cabinet headed by three chief ministers, Bindeshwari Dubey, Bhagwat Jha Azad, and Jagannath Mishra," he said.
With the Left parties, which together have 16 MLAs in the state Legislative Assembly, deciding to support the government from outside the alliance, the 19 MLA-strong Congress is expected to obtain four ministerial berths, PTI reported.
(With inputs from PTI, NDTV, and ANI.)