In what seems to be another blow to the RJD which is already facing serious trouble after Lalu Yadav was sentenced to imprisonment for 14 years in fourth fodder scam case, his sons appear to be involved in a political tussle.
As per latest reports, former health minister of Bihar, Tej Pratap Yadav has denied reports of any differences between him and his younger brother Tejashwi Yadav. While he tried clearing the air around the issue, there was a hint of frustration in his statements on being given a cold shoulder by his party. He claimed that some party leaders with vested interests were keen to create differences between him and his brother.
Earlier in the day, a tweet by Tej Pratap Yadav hinted that he may retire from active politics. In a reference to the epic Mahabharata, he stated that, ‘I should give away the seat of Hastinapur to Arjun and leave for Dwarka.’ By stating that he was thinking of going to Dwarka, he has made it clear that he is considering retiring from active politics. He also added that some people might feel that by doing so he has become the ‘kingmaker’. This gave rise to speculations of a possible rift within the RJD. It appeared as if not all was well within the RJD and therefore, Tej Pratap appeared miffed with his own party. He also stated that some people have a problem with his being the ‘kingmaker’.
मेरा सोंचना है कि मैं अर्जुन को हस्तिनापुर की गद्दी पर बैठाऊं और खुद द्वारका चला जाऊँ।
अब कुछेक "चुग्लों" को कष्ट है कि कहीं मैं किंग मेकर न कहलाऊं।।
।। राधे राधे।।
— Tej Pratap Yadav (@TejYadav14) June 9, 2018
After keeping silent for an entire day and not giving any clarification as to the speculations of a possible rift, Tej Pratap Yadav finally came out with a statement that anti-social elements were trying to break the RJD. In an attempt to evade media glare, he stated that Tejashwi Yadav was his ‘kaleje ka tuka’, i.e. piece of his heart. However, this seems to be mere eyewash. In fact, Tej Pratap Yadav could not hide his anger and strong emotions. He went on to add that party people don’t receive his calls saying that they have been asked by senior party leaders to do so. The party seems to be facing a turbulent situation being already in a deep crisis since its president and former Bihar chief minister Lalu was jailed following his conviction in the fodder scam case. Now, the way Tej Pratap Yadav has been sidelined within the RJD and the way in which he hinted at retirement from active politics, it is clear that all is not right within Lalu’s party. No matter how much they clarify, it appears on the face of it that some kind of power struggle is taking place within the party.
Suspicion of a tussle between Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav becomes strong primarily because of the fact that the Lalu family has been vulnerable to power struggles, family feuds and tussles in the past too. In 2013 itself, when Lalu was first sent to jail, reports were rife that senior party leaders and Lalu’s children, sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav and daughter Misa Bharti, were fighting it out among themselves to take over the reins of the party. Reports had emerged of a war of succession within the party. Before the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, details had again emerged of an ensuing tussle between the children of Lalu Prasad Yadav for becoming his heir.
No matter how much Tej Pratap Yadav denies it, there are strong signs of the RJD sidelining him, leading to a power struggle. It is not hidden from anyone that Misa Bharti and Tejashwi Yadavwere first projected by Lalu as his inheritors, Tej Pratap Yadav came in the fray much later. It is possible that he does not enjoy much popularity and influence within the party and is therefore made to face political pressure. While the regional parties harbour an over-ambitious plan of forming a grand alliance against the BJP, it seems they are not able to keep their own parties together. Such political infighting and power struggles are going to make 2019 general elections a cakewalk for the BJP.