Hours after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar won the trust vote with 131 legislators supporting him in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, Lalu Yadav's son and till recently Kumar's deputy, Tejashwi Yadav launched a sharp attack on his former boss whose sudden resignation on Wednesday drove his party out of power.
After the trust vote, while speaking to NDTV, Tejashwi, who feels that his party has been betrayed by the their former friend, claimed that "if Nitish Kumar were to go to the polls today, he will lose".
At the same time, the 27-year-old, who still feels confident about Congress, one of the partners in the erstwhile Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, had some advice for its vice president Rahul Gandhi which is that he should unite all opposition parties and bring them at one platform to take on the BJP.
"Rahul Gandhi is very responsible. He has to take this challenge. We had a word about it when I met him in Delhi (before Bihar saw switching of political loyalties). He has been trying (to gather support). He can do it. He is capable of doing it. But he has to start thinking of a move," Tejashwi said.
Tell him that Nitish Kumar has a formidable fan base of youngsters who believe in their Chief Minister, Tejashwi rubbishes it by saying that "Biharis are politically very active and understand what's going on".
"I don't think that young Biharis like Nitish ji anymore. In cities, whoever was talking about Nitish ji was a BJP voter. In rural areas, Nitish ji ke voters hai hi nahi (he doesn't have supporters). Nitish ji talks a lot, but he has to do something. He also has to clear his ideology-whether Godse or Gandhi," he said.
He also told NDTV that Nitish ji claims he waited for a clarification on "Tejashwi's case" and when that didn't come "he realised that this government had to go". But "when I went to meet him, he didn't specify what kind of clarification he was looking for".
"During our meeting, he said he wasn't asking for my resignation and it was just a rumour. He should have called me after Sushil Modi's allegations to clear things. But he never did. He just insisted there had to be some clarification without specifying anything," a visibly angry Tejashwi said.
While calling Nitish Kumar's move a well thought out strategy, Tejashwi demands to know "why couldn't Nitish ji have patience?" and what was the hurry to be partners with a party that he criticised so much and disagreed with. "His moves were pre-planned. Nitish ji had decided to go to the BJP. He had been planning it for several months. He was in touch with the BJP. I was just a pawn," he said.
He added, "He used to talk against BJP and RSS. He used to advise me, 'Tejashwi, you have a bright future. We are old now. They are ruining the country and you will have to fight hard. You have to understand to what extent they can go to (remain in power).' He has cheated the Biharis who had voted for the Mahagathbandhan and against the BJP by forming a government with the BJP. He played dirty politics."