JD(U) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pawan Varma says that elections in Bihar will be a referendum on Centre’s non-performance. In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Varma says that the elections will expose the big gap between what the Centre promised and what it has delivered at the end of 17 months. While speaking to Neelu Vyas, Varma called Manjhi’s alliance with the BJP, the biggest example of opportunistic alliance.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Do you feel that the Bihar polls will be a referendum on the Centre’s performance?
In the fight between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi, Modi can be judged on what he promised and what he has delivered. Rising prices and unemployment levels haven’t been improved by the BJP. Our Grand Alliance goes by the slogan ‘Aage Badhta Rahe Bihar, Phir Ek bar Nitish Kumar’.
There is a perception that Lalu Prasad is a symbol of corruption, then why did your party ally with RJD?
Lalu Prasad has emphatically endorsed Nitish Kumar to become CM. Nitish Kumar stands for economic development, good governance and social justice. Also, Lalu’s corruption case is being judged by the courts and a due process of law is being followed. Law and order won’t be compromised by Nitish Kumar. And he has proved that by recently putting two JD(U) MLAs in jail. The Grand Alliance’s prime focus is on economic development and good governance. Lalu Prasad’s USP is social empowerment and justice and Nitish Kumar’s is governance. Our basic motto is ‘Nyay ke sath vikas’.
Has Manjhi’s exit impacted your party’s votebank?
The manner in which he behaved was unfortunate. Within 4 months Mr. Manjhi shifted his allegiance and betrayed us. I have not seen a bigger opportunist politician. Nitish Kumar didn’t even interfere in Manjhi’s government even for a day. In less than four months BJP was able to take Manjhi on their side.
The votes of Mahadalits and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) will be divided. How are you thinking of consolidating the votes?
Nitish Kumar received support from all sections of society. The EBCs, Mahadalits and the Dalits in Bihar believe that Nitish Kumar has worked for them. JD(U) believes that the party’s essential goal is all-round and holistic development of Bihar.
Why are you talking about development along with caste? Is caste the new overt political reality in Bihar?
You’ll find a caste factor in every state. BJP is essentially a party of the Upper Castes and they constitute only 12% of Bihar. The arithmetic behind an alliance is different. Ours is an alliance against the BJP which has unlimited access to money.