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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

BJP attacks Tejashwi Yadav for eating fish during Navratri, RJD leader says ‘they are complete morons’

Tejashwi posted a video on X showing him and ally Mukesh Sahani of the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) flaunting fish garnished with sliced onions and green chillies in the cabin of their chopper between campaign stops

Dev Raj Patna Published 11.04.24, 04:42 AM
Tejashwi Yadav

Tejashwi Yadav File Photo

A fishplate was pivoted onto the Bihar poll table on Wednesday and instantly set RJD lead act and former deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, and the BJP on collision course.

Tejashwi posted a video on X showing him and ally Mukesh Sahani of the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) flaunting fish garnished with sliced onions and green chillies in the cabin of their chopper between campaign stops.

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The three-minute video posted online by Tejashwi shows him saying: “These are the only 10-15 minutes during which we get an opportunity to eat during the election campaign. I thank Mukeshji for providing the fish.”

Sahani, a youngster like Tejashwi, joins in feistily with a teaser and a taunt over their brandished meal of a small fish variety (chechra) found in the Kosi river belt. Sahani says: “Kuchh logon ko hamara aur hamaare chhote bhai Tejashwiji ka video dekh kar bahut mirchi lagega (Some folks will sizzle up watching this video of mine and my younger brother, Tejashwiji.)”

If that was a deliberately dangled bait — as Tejashwi smartly made it out to be later — the adversaries readily rose to take a bite. Much to their regret. Tejashwi gobbled the fish with demonstrable rapture; the BJP was left to deal with the leftover bones.

No sooner had they seen the Tejashwi-Mukesh video than several in the BJP ranks saw an opportunity to turn that meal of fish foul.

They went to work, at once happily and furiously, slamming the two young Mahagathbandan leaders for eating non-vegetarian food during the pious period of Chaitra Navratri. Chaitra Navratri, which falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra, marks the beginning of the Hindu lunar year.

This year, the festivities started on April 9 and will continue until Ramnavami on April 17.

“These people portray themselves as Sanatan ki santaan (children of Sanatan religion), but they have no Sanatan culture in them. What do they want to show by posting such a video during the Navratri? These people cook and eat mutton during saawan (the Hindu month dedicated to Lord Shiva),” Bihar’s deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Sinha told reporters.

Sinha was referring to RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi cooking and enjoying a meal of mutton during the month of saawan in Delhi last year. Rahul had made and circulated a video of it.

Digging his teeth into the fish controversy cooked up by Lalu’s son, which by then had picked up steam on social media, Union minister Giriraj Singh, known for his embittered, and often bigoted, tongue, said: “Another effort to appease the minority community.” Giriraj also labelled the duo “seasonal followers of Sanatan religion”.

But just when the BJP ranks were thinking they had Tejashwi by the scruff of his neck and could go for the jugular, the 34-year-old rolled the bait-rod reels to declare that he had clearly written while posting the video that it was from April 8, a day before the Navratri observances started.

“I was taking an IQ test of the BJP leaders and andhbhakts (people having blind faith). I have won. I clearly mentioned the date April 8 in the post. Neither do they read nor do they understand. They are complete morons,” Tejashwi told reporters.

“The BJP and its people have failed in my test. They never discuss people’s issues with such vigour. They don’t talk about unemployment, poverty, education or health. But when it comes to religion, they start jumping and giving statements,” Tejashwi added.

Mortified, the BJP ranks soon fell silent. But in their bid to trip and embarrass Tejashwi and company, the BJP had again underscored the depths to which the political and electoral discourse has been dragged. They had also demonstrated one of two things: either their ignorance of the pluralistic practices of Hindu society, or their wish to impose a monolithic code dictated by the Sangh.

The truth remains that a large section of people in Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Assam and several other states do not abstain from eating fish or other non-vegetarian food during the Navratris or other festivals such as Dussehra or Durga Puja. Hindu rituals, rites and religious practices differ from region to region, very often from community to community and caste to caste.

On the latest drubbing at the hands of Tejashwi, a senior BJP leader told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity: “This is a sorry state of affairs. I don’t know how or who connected food with religion, but remember Swami Vivekananda had warned about religion entering the kitchen. The situation has not changed since then.”

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