PATNA: Ahead of the by-polls in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday called upon the Congress to become a ‘strong alternative’ to the BJP at the national level politics and said that his party has always supported the Congress in every situation.

Speaking to ANI, Yadav said, “I agree that my alliance is with the Congress on a national level. But at the state level, the situation is different. At the national level, we want a strong alternative to the BJP and therefore I have always supported Congress in every situation.”

“Prime role should be that of Congress. Has anyone helped Congress more than us? It is an old party, an all-India party, we still consider them so,” the RJD supremo said.

“Alliance is formed with like-minded people, secular forces. At the state level also, we formed an alliance with Congress, the Left and other parties…Let people say whatever they want to,” he said.

Earlier, the veteran leader had said that RJD’s candidates would lose their deposit in the elections if they remain in alliance with the Congress in the state ahead of the by-polls in two assembly constituencies.

RJD supremo further slammed the Centre over the inflation and said, “Fuel prices are soaring, and diesel is costing more than ghee. How will people cook without kadwa tel (mustard oil)?”

Lalu Prasad Yadav returned to Bihar after over three years.

The Jharkhand high court, earlier in April, granted bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

The former Bihar chief minister, who was undergoing treatment at Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences for two years, was shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi in January. 

He also has expressed confidence in his younger son Tejashwi’s leadership and lauded him for “handling the party pretty well in his absence”. The comments came amid a strained relationship being witnessed between his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi over the leadership of the party.

Speaking to ANI, Yadav said that Tejashwi handled the party pretty well in his absence which was beyond his expectations and made RJD the largest party in the last Assembly polls in Bihar.

“The way Tejashwi handled the party in my absence, it was beyond my expectations. Along with my son, every party worker worked hard and made RJD the largest party in the previous Assembly election,” the RJD supremo said.

“The RJD would have been in power in the state but the present ruling NDA alliance in the state cheated to gain power,” he said.

“I know Tejashwi is campaigning in both constituencies going for by-polls and is doing really well, giving a strong fight to the NDA. I will ensure their ‘visarjan’ (immersion),” the veteran leader said.

Yadav further showed confidence in winning the Kusheshwar Asthan (SC) and Tarapur by-polls by a great margin.

The strained relationship between Tej Pratap and his younger brother Tejashwi has been evident after RJD students’ wing state president Akash Yadav, who is believed to be a close aide of Tej Pratap, was removed from his post.

Further Tej Pratap Yadav, earlier this month, had alleged that his father and veteran leader Lalu Prasad Yadav has been held “hostage” in New Delhi despite getting bail earlier this year.

Tej Pratap has also alleged that he has been stopped to meet his father Lalu Yadav.

Tej Pratap had also announced that he will announce a big step in the coming days while stating that he is no longer part of RJD.