Bihar results will surprise everyone, promises Tejashwi Yadav at Shivaji Park

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday delivered a measured and mature address in the presence of senior INDIA bloc leaders at Shivaji Park

From left: Priyanka Gandhi, K.C. Venugopal and Tejashwi Yadav (photo: PTI)
From left: Priyanka Gandhi, K.C. Venugopal and Tejashwi Yadav (photo: PTI)

A.J. Prabal

Do not be swayed by surveys and opinion polls, said Tejashwi Yadav, addressing a huge gathering at the culmination of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra at Mumbai's sprawling Shivaji Park, and declaring that Bihar would spring a surprise for everyone in the Lok Sabha elections.

In 17 months as deputy chief minister of the state, Tejashwi had filled 5 lakh vacancies in the government. But what has the Modi government done in the last 10 years, he asked. Railways and the Army were two of the biggest job providers in India, but by outsourcing jobs and introducing the Agniveer scheme on contract, the the Union government has slowed down recruitment, he said.

Describing unemployment, inflation and poverty as the most serious threats to the country, the young leader lashed out at PM Modi, who he accused of being the "manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of lies" produced on an industrial scale.

That the young leader from Bihar struck a chord with the crowd was confirmed by eyewitnesses. Historian and author Dhaval Kulkarni, who was present at Shivaji Park, spoke to a group of youngsters and first-time voters, who said the real issue confronting them was the lack of jobs and opportunities. They felt that the education system had become too archaic, except for those who can afford cutting-edge educational opportunities.

Tejashwi drew repeated cheers by switching over to Bhojpuri to address Biharis in the crowd, and his sharp comments that the NDA alliance ruling in Maharashtra comprised "dealers and not leaders". The first-time voters were also impressed by Rahul Gandhi, who, they felt, had emerged as a fearless leader, posted Kulkarni.

Here are some of the other voices from Shivaji Park on Sunday:

BJP is a balloon, which we filled with air. Now the time has come to burst the bubble. Maharashtra is the land of the brave and if someone tries to break us, we will break him.
Uddhav Thackeray, former CM Maharashtra
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra was not the journey of Rahul and the Congress, but the whole of India. Modi did nothing in the last 10 years. But he did two things — went on several foreign trips and indulged in propaganda. We must stop this.
M.K. Stalin, chief minister of Tamil Nadu
It’s time to vote and replace those who have deceived us with false promises. The so-called 'Modi ki guarantee' is nothing but a hollow proclamation. Mumbai, a city steeped in historical significance, once resonated with Mahatma Gandhi’s call to action against British rule with ‘Bharat Chhodo’. Now, echoing from these very streets, is a fervent plea to ‘BJP, Bharat Chhodo’, marking a shift in political sentiment.
Sharad Pawar, NCP MP
This land produced leaders who fought against the British. You should vote in large numbers to defeat the EVM.
Farooq Abdullah, Former Jammu Kashmir CM
Opposition leaders are threatened to join the BJP. They are held by the neck and forced to join the party…a leader from Maharashtra cried in front of my mother Sonia Gandhi, saying he felt ashamed that he could not fight this evil power anymore and didn’t want to go to jail.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP

Today, I can see people with different thoughts and ideas here. This is ‘India.’ The election is all set to begin; the public has the most powerful weapon given by the Constitution and that is the ‘vote’.
Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Democratic Party chief

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s general secretary Priyanka Vadra, Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren, his predecessor Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren, Aam Aadmi Party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, Telangana chief minister A. Revanth Reddy, Karnataka deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, and other INDIA bloc leaders were present on the occasion.

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