Aveteran socialist leader, K C TYAGI is national general secretary and national spokesman of the Janata Dal-United. He entered politics in 1974 when he joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

He contested for the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 1984. A distinguished parliamentarian, Tyagi is a former member of the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha.

He was also chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry. In an interview with ABHIJEET ANAND, Tyagi shares his thoughts on various issues — especially those relating to the recent Bihar Assembly polls in which chief minister Nitish Kumar-led JD-U fared poorly although it managed to retain power thanks to its alliance partner BJP’s sound performance.

Excerpts:

Q. The Grand Alliance lost the Bihar elections and yet it claimed that it got victory.Your reaction?

A. The RJD plus and particularly the RJD have no faith in constitutional authority and its organs. They are accusing the NDA of rigging the election results. They approached the Election Commission. There is a tradition that if you have some objections during the counting you can put it before the Counting Officer.

They did not protest even once… when the margin became so narrow and it became very evident that they are going to lose. After the result was declared they approached the Election Officer that recounting must be done.

There is a process. I have contested the Lok Sabha elections six times. There is a process that if you have some doubt in your mind then during the counting process you can put your objections on record. Now they are accusing the Election Commission also.

Q. The RJD has intensified its attacks on the JD-U after the elections. Has the drubbing at the hands of the RJD put the JD-U on the backfoot?

A. There was a conspiracy from within and outside to cut JD-U and Nitish Kumar down to size. The entire campaign of the Grand Alliance was against Nitish Kumar, not against our other partner.

The LJP called Narendra Modi its leader and he (LJP chief Chirag Paswan) said he is Hanuman of PM Modi. He (Chirag) was doing all the dirty things in the name of Narendra Modi. All top BJP leaders including Modi, Amit Shah and even party president J P Nadda said many times that the NDA in Bihar means the JD-U, BJP, VIP plus him (Chirag).

Even then he was continuously contesting elections and abusing Nitish Kumar. He is responsible for the defeat of major candidates of JDU… some BJP candidates…but mostly of JD-U candidates in 40 assembly seats. So it was a conspiracy to cut JDU and Nitish Kumar down to size.

Q. But Nitish Kumar looks demoralised after the elections?

A. Why should he be demoralised? We got 16 per cent votes. Last time also we had got 16 per cent votes. The vote percentage of the JDU indicates the popularity of Nitish Kumar among certain sections of society. This is what used to be earlier also. We are not demoralised. We are angry.

Q. Are you doing an introspection as to why you got fewer seats?

A. As I earlier told you, it was a conspiracy against the JD-U and Nitish. Covid-19 is not the product of Nitish Kumar. It is a natural calamity. Even then we are accused for that. Bihar is the least affected state by Covid and has seen least number of deaths.

The so-called states and cities which claims to be Class I including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru…people are dying, cases are growing. But this is not the case in Bihar. Yes, there was migration from Bihar.

This is not Nitish-made. This is the outcome of the wrong policies of the government. We are not an industrialsed state. The poor people after the lockdown, they wanted to come back because they were ousted from their houses and from jobs also.

Lot of people gathered. They were suffering all kinds of hardships during their return to Bihar. We are very sorry. If there would have been some jobs and opportunities in Bihar they wouldn’t have met this kind of problems which they faced. They were angry. But the anger was not against us. It was against the system.

Q. Why are you blaming Covid for the drubbing in elections?

A. Even the mightiest man of the world, Trump, lost because of Covid. Because maximum number of people have died in America (due to Covid). And the mighty Trump and Trump administration was not able to find a vaccine.

Even he was accused by them. And it was the main campaign of Biden against Trump that he failed to resolve this Covid problem. So the result is very evident. For the entire episode of migration, agony, disaster and hardship, Nitish Kumar is being blamed as if Covid has been brought by Nitish and the suffering is because of him.

Q. But, at the same time, you are blaming the LJP too?

A. The LJP claims to be a part of the NDA. He (Chirag) was asking seats from the BJP. The JD-U and the LJP have never contested elections together. 2005, 2010, 2015 and now 2020. We never contested together.

They are the partner of the BJP. They were asking some seats from the BJP. Even Amit Shah is on record that he (Chirag) was demanding more seats. It was not possible for the BJP to fulfill. So, he directed all his ammunition against the JD-U and Nitish Kumar, claiming that we are responsible for it.

And he was putting up candidates particularly against the JD-U candidates. He had a secret understanding with the RJD also. In the seats of Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, such candidates were put up, which was beneficial for both of them.

Q. Have you written any letter to the BJP asking for removal of the LJP from the NDA?

A. Even Prime Minister has said in his public meeting… in Bihar, the NDA means to be led by Nitish Kumar in which the JD-U, BJP, VIP and HAM exist. We don’t consider him (Chirag) a part of the NDA. He is not in the NDA.

Q. What are your views on the legislation being framed against the so-called ‘love jihad’ or unlawful conversion?

A. The Supreme Court has said on record that an adult man and a woman can marry and also can be in a live-in partnership. So religion doesn’t come into it. It is unnecessary propaganda by some persons and organisations. And there does not exist anything like “love jihad” in Bihar. Therefore, there is no need of any such legislation in Bihar.

Q. What would you say about parties like the AIMIM gaining five seats in the Bihar polls?

A. They (AIMIM) contested last time also but they could get only one seat. This is the incompetency of Tejaswi Yadav and the Grand Alliance that they could not get support even from the minority community. They were paying lip service to the minority community.

Therefore, a person came from Hyderabad and was able to get five seats. It used to be the strongest base of the RJD. But, now the RJD is losing its support among the minorities also.