RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Saturday reached out to sections of the society falling outside the traditional "MY" (Muslims and Yadavs) base, asserting that his party belonged to "all poor, deprived and exploited people". At a conference of the Extremely Backward Classes held by his party, the former Bihar Deputy CM attempted to make inroads into the social segment which has hitherto been, largely, with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U).
He also said that he was in favour of the uplift of the poor among the upper castes but pointed out that there was no provision in the Constitution for quotas on economic grounds.
The RJD heir apparent also attacked Kumar for having betrayed the mandate of 2015 assembly polls by walking out of the Grand Alliance and claimed "had we joined hands with the BJP, I might have become the Chief Minister. But unlike chacha (uncle - the term he often uses to describe Nitish Kumar) we are not interested in chair but prefer to work for the people".
"His hunger for power made him side with the BJP in the 1990s when the Mandal movement was fresh. He did it again at a time we were engaged in a historically important fight against the BJP which is now in power and has imposed an undeclared Emergency", Yadav alleged.
Training his guns at the BJP, Yadav who is also the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, said "an attempt is being made to trigger communal frenzy so that people lose sight of what the government is doing and those in power are able to proceed with their agenda which includes, among other things, scrapping reservations".
Striking an emotional chord by invoking the name of ailing, septuagenarian party supremo Lalu Prasad, he said "you people have given lots of love to my father and me. Please keep your trust in us so that we may repay your love with interest (sood ke saath)".
"When my father was going to jail he asked me not to get disheartened and said to look at the public as masters and turn to them whenever I felt dejected", Yadav said referring to the incarceration of the RJD supremo who has been behind the bars since December last year when he was convicted in a fodder scam case.
The RJD leader, whom the party has named as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the next assembly polls, also promised that if voted to power, his government would provide 69 percent reservations in Bihar, on par with Tamil Nadu.
(With inputs from PTI)