Lalu Yadav Fielding His Family in Elections as RJD Doesn't Have Political Leaders Anymore: Rajiv Pratap Rudy | Interview
Lalu Yadav Fielding His Family in Elections as RJD Doesn't Have Political Leaders Anymore: Rajiv Pratap Rudy | Interview
Bihar Lok Sabha election 2024: In an interview to News18, former Union Mininster and BJP's Saran candidate Rajiv Pratap Rudy says he is confident of a hat-trick this time. He adds that he would have been happier had RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav contested directly against him instead of fielding his daughter Rohini Acharya

A former Union minister, four-time Lok Sabha MP and trained commercial pilot, BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy is once again taxiing on the Saran runway in Bihar. Having defeated Rabri Devi and Chandrika Rai previously, Rudy’s latest challender is another member of the Lalu Prasad Yadav family — the RJD leader’s daughter Rohini Acharya who has the sympathy vote with her this time for donating a kidney to her father.

Rudy, however, is confident of a hat-trick, and said in an interview to News18 that he trusts the people of Saran and the work he has done in the constituency so far. Taking on the family politics of the RJD, Rudy said he would have been happier had Lalu Prasad contested directly against him instead of fielding family members election after election.

Edited excerpts:

You have been a four-time MP from Saran. What is your agenda this time?

I have been working in this constituency for many years and I have a sense of commitment which the people understand. I have been free for a couple of years and it was very kind of the honourable Prime Minister to give me the opportunity to work in the government. I am working in my constituency these days. It’s not that I have come today because of elections. I have been here. I stay in a village, in a rural area. When I leave Delhi, I don’t stay in Patna. I love to stay in rural areas and I am committed to them. No one can challenge me on that.

You have defeated family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav like his wife Rabri Devi and samdhi Chandrika Rai. This time, his daughter Rohini is contesting. Will she be a challenge for you?

The country knows Lalu Prasad Yadav, but barely anyone knows who has been contesting against him and defeating him. That is a big challenge for me because I speak English, I am reasonably presentable, I fly planes, I can practise in the Supreme Court. My aura doesn’t fit with the contest against Lalu Yadav and that’s the biggest disadvantage, so I have to behave like one to be Lalu Yadav. But fortunately, the people who elected Lalu Yadav have elected me. I have contested against Lalu Yadav. I have contested against his wife, the honorable former chief minister Mrs Rabri Devi. She has lost to me. I have contested against his in-laws. Since the time I was an MLA, I have been contesting Lalu Yadav.

Saran has six Assembly constituencies, four of which were won by the RJD. What factors will ensure your win here in Lok Sabha elections?

There was a time when the RJD won all six Assembly constituencies that fall under the Saran Lok Sabha seat. Lalu Prasad was the Bihar Chief Minister in 1996, still I won.

Your challenger is RJD’s Rohini Acharya who has the sympathy vote in her favour after donating a kidney to her father Lalu Prasad…

Every father should have a daughter like her. This fight is not against his daughter, but against Lalu Prasad Yadav. It’s a family hierarchy. There are no political candidates in the RJD and that’s why he is having to field all his family members. The people of Saran and the country understand what’s happening.

What are your plans for Saran in the next five years. Any policies to set up industries here?

Policies are not set by Members of Parliament. Yes, I have got brilliant ideas and I have been working on them. Anyone who knows Rajiv Pratap Rudy, know what he is at policy level, at implantation level and at execution level. But whatever is announced by the Prime Minister at the national level, I steal it, bring it, study it, I fight for it and get it for Chapra. That’s what matters.

The largest number of Ayushman Bharat cards have been given in the district of Saran in Bihar. Internet connectivity is 100%, electricity is round-the-clock, roads are beautiful, and land value is going up. People of Lalu Yadav’s community also trust me more than they trust him.

Do you think Tejashwi Yadav’s job card will dent your vote bank this time?

We work on what the Prime Minister plans for the country. All the decisions taken by the government, whether it’s to abolish instant triple talaq, revoke Article 370, construct the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The people of Bihar have great trust in the PM.

Saran is an arm’s length from Patna. Any plans to set up some industries here if double-engine sarkar continues?

There are many projects in the pipeline for next five years; the kind of projects that Bihar has never witnessed. It would be too soon to speak about them right now.

What do you have to say on parivarvad?

They are not politicians, they are chieftains. I would have been happier had Lalu Yadav contested directly against me. Is RJD really a political party? Does it really deserve to be in politics or lead Bihar? What does Lalu Prasad Yadav do except spew hatred?

RJD leaders blame you for the alleged plight of Saran. How do you counter that?

Just turn around the camera and you can see the roads… just look at the city, the network of national highways, bridges over the Ganga. There is approval for projects worth Rs 32,000 crore. The villages you see all have gas connections, something even some cities don’t have. Chapra is a model district. The RJD is in opposition and its leaders have every right to speak against me, but one is going to listen to them or believe them.

Last time, the margin of your victory was around 1.3 lakh votes. What victory margin do you expect this time?

There is no use speculating on that before the elections. Let the elections happen. There is groundswell support and people trust me. I trust them too. I cannot count the numbers before the elections, but I believe it’s going to be very good.

The BJP has shown trust in you again. Do you think the people will reciprocate?

You will have to ask the people that. I have great trust in the people of Saran. I am a Member of parliament first. Whatever I dream, I dream for Bihar. The place we just crossed will have the largest aerodrome among any country in South East Asia. It’s an approved project and will be a milestone for Bihar. I add wealth to the economy of this district. Look at the development in this area. There is a semblance of big administration and I am a part of it.

Your rivals say it’s “vendetta politics” whenever central agencies take action against Opposition leaders…

These agencies and institutions are the embodiment of the Constitution.

Finally, what is your message to the people?

The country deserves a Prime Minister like Mr Modi. The country needs and trusts him. People of the country say ‘Modi Hai Toh Guarantee Hai’. And people in Chapra say ‘Rudy Hai Toh Guarantee Hai’. I am just a small part of it.

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