Almost one month before Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Union Minister for the first time in VP Singh’s Government in December 1989, Lalu Prasad’s youngest son Tejashwi Yadav was born.
Much junior in terms of age, experience and stature, 28-year-old Tejashwi, however, tore the same Nitish to shreds in the Bihar Assembly on Friday.
Those who rub their eyes in disbelief, sample the newly-appointed Leader of the Opposition (in Bihar Assembly) Tejashwi’s blistering attack on Nitish:
Mukhya-mantri ji (Mr Chief Minister), are you aware that in the last four years, there have been four governments in the State? And not once, either the BJP or the RJD, had been responsible for the change of guard? ….Every time it has been because of one person – Nitish Kumar – who in the name of ‘improvising his image’ changed the government and allies.
When you joined hands with Lalu Prasad, were you not aware of the backdrop (that he was convicted in fodder scam)?
How could you disrespect a mandate which was against the party which questioned your DNA?
You participated in the centenary celebration of the Champaran movement by going on a pad-yatra with the supporters of ‘Hey Ram’. What changed in the few months that, ironically, you had to join hands with those chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’?
I now ask the BJP leaders why all your ministers were sacked in June 2013 when Nitish ji severed ties with you? You had 91 MLAs in the House. Were you all facing corruption charges? We are 80 MLAs today, slightly less than your tally then. But Nitish ji did not have an iota of courage to sack even one of us.
Tejashwi sirf ek bahana tha. Kyonki aapko BJP mein jaana tha. (Tejashwi was just an excuse as you wanted to align with the BJP).
Vote of Confidence Won in Exchange for Electorate’s Trust
There was pin drop silence when Lalu’s son, who, until two days ago, was Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister, but now, in the new role of Leader of Opposition, tore his ‘Chacha’ (Uncle, as he fondly calls Nitish) to shreds. The members of Treasury benches as well as those in the Opposition listened to Tejashwi’s shrillest attack with rapt attention.
Nitish may have won the vote of confidence, but he has lost the trust of half of the Bihar electorate. At least this is what appears from the proceedings in the House. While 131 MLAs in the 243-member House voted in Nitish’s favour, there were 108 legislators who voted against him. Two Opposition MLAs Sudarshan (of Congress) and Raj Ballabh Yadav (RJD) could not vote. While Sudarshan was disallowed by the Speaker to vote for his late arrival, Raj Ballabh could not vote as he is languishing in jail.
Emergence of Tejashwi as a Promising Leader
The figure of 131 members in favour while 110 against, shows the floor test could throw surprising results in the days to come, in case 10 or 15 members decide otherwise, or even abstain next time.
The result also shows that neither the ruling party could poach the Opposition (which claimed support of RJD 80, Cong 27, CPI-ML 2, Independents 2), nor vice-versa.
Notwithstanding who won or lost, the best part of today’s (28 July) Assembly session was the emergence of Tejashwi Yadav as a promising leader, who, unlike his rustic father Lalu, is soft-spoken, suave and articulate. Even when he is in an attacking mode, he measures his words carefully, a trait conspicuously missing in most of the politicians hailing from this State.
Nitish may have won the trust vote, but he has surely lost a promising deputy, who could have proven to be better than the best.
(Neena Choudhary is a Bihar-based journalist. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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