Q/ Is it a generational fight as Tejashwi Yadav is pitted against Nitish Kumar?
A/ I will not put it to such stereotypes. It is Nitish Kumar versus the people of Bihar. In the long-term memory, people of the state remember many things which the chief minister could have done, but did not do. In the short term, they remember Muzaffarpur shelter-home case, plight of returning migrants—first, the way Nitish Kumar ji obstructed their arrival, and then could not provide proper arrangement—and huge mismanagement during the Covid-19 pandemic in providing health facilities.
Q/ What message are you giving to the people?
A/ Our manifesto is ready. It is not a promise of cosmetic changes. It is a commitment from leader of opposition, Tejashwi Yadav, for transformation agenda. Complete transformation of agriculture, health and education, and [of the] unemployment situation, [along ] with women’s safety.
Q/ Is the party missing Lalu Prasad’s presence?
A/ Not only the party, [but also] Bihar is missing him. An entire generation of Biharis, they have never witnessed or participated in an election without Lalu Prasad ji. He is such a valuable voice.
Q/ What do you make of Chirag Paswan’s decision to contest against the JD(U), but maintain ties with the BJP?
A/ In independent India’s history, for the first time, a political party [the BJP] is in two alliances. Many big BJP leaders have sought tickets and got it from the LJP.
Q/ The HAM, the RLSP and the VIP left your alliance.
A/ First of all, we wish them good luck wherever they are. Secondly, the people of Bihar have made up their minds that 1 Anne Marg (chief minister’s official residence) will see a new occupant, a new young chief minister.