Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav was on Tuesday attacked with slippers during a campaign rally in Aurangabad, reported ANI. It was not immediately clear who threw the slippers.
The attack took place when Yadav was sitting on the dais before taking the microphone. A video from the event showed Yadav and other leaders busy looking after the arrangement on the stage when one slipper was thrown at them. Seconds later, a second footwear landed on Yadav’s lap.
Campaigning has been going on in full force in Bihar despite the coronavirus pandemic. Yadav is the chief ministerial face of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) – a combine of the RJD, Congress and three Left parties. He is pitted against Nitish Kumar, the National Democratic Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.
Yadav promises 10 lakh jobs, Nitish Kumar mocks him
Yadav has also promised 10 lakh jobs per year if his Mahagathbandhan comes to power in Bihar, NDTV reported. This was sneered at by Nitish Kumar during a rally in Gopalganj on Tuesday.
“Where will you get the money to pay the salaries?” Kumar asked. “From the same scam for which you are in jail [referring to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction in the fodder scam]? Or will you print fake money?”
He implied that Tejashwi Yadav lacked knowledge or experience. “Why only 10 lakh?” Kumar said. If you’re giving jobs, then give jobs to everyone.”
In response, Tejashwi Yadav said he had been deputy chief minister, and wondered why BJP leaders were chasing him “with 20 helicopters” if he was so inexperienced. “I am a lone man and they are so many,” he said. “What is their compulsion?”
He claimed that Kumar is physically and mentally tired, and said that though Bihar’s budget was Rs 30,000 crore, all the money had been lost in “60 scams”. “His Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali policy has been assigned Rs 24,000 crore,” Tejashwi Yadav said. “It is all going into corruption. He spent Rs 500 crore to brighten his face in ads. Then he makes this laughable comment about where’s the money to give jobs.”
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also mocked Yadav’s promise to give 10 lakh jobs, saying the Grand Alliance will give an order to manufacture 10 lakh pistols instead, increasing the crime rate in Bihar again.
Increasing crowds at rallies, claims RJD
The RJD claimed that the crowd at their rallies has been increasing exponentially, with Yadav saying he was “humbled”.
“This sea of people is standing for change, development, employment and jobs in Bihar,” he tweeted. “The incompetent NDA government of 15 years have ruined Bihar. Humbled and grateful to receive rousing reception across Bihar. Such an electrifying crowd in Goh Assembly, Aurangabad.”
This comes even as the Election Commission had instructed all political parties to maintain distancing guidelines while holding rallies ahead of voting.
The Bharatiya Janata Party said the Opposition was organising meetings and rallies in their bastions. “But if you see previous elections, the results have no connection to the turnout at rallies,” party spokesperson Sahnawaj Hussain told NDTV.
Senior RJD leader and party spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari, however, differed. He claimed the crowd consists of people “beyond our traditional support base”. The RJD leaders believe that the massive footfall was because of the simmering anger among the migrant labourers.
Election to the 243-seat Bihar Assembly will be held in three phases: October 29, November 3 and November 7. The results will be declared on November 10.