All is not well within the RJD ahead of 2019 general elections. Earlier, there were reports about the ongoing tension between the RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and brother Tej Pratap Yadav. Alluding to the epic ‘Mahabharata’, Tej Pratap indicated that he would leave his seat for his brother Tejashwi Yadav. He further added in his tweet that even if he goes away a few would have a problem as then he would be called a Kingmaker.
Tej Pratap’s tweet caused much speculation, with Lalu Prasad Yadav away after being convicted in the fodder scam, tension is brewing between his sons.
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
Just few days ago, RJD chief Lalu Yadav’s eldest daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti has also confirmed the news of rift between Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav. Misa admitted that there is some “manmutao” (discord) between her two brothers. The Times of India has quoted Misa Bharti saying, “Some kind of discord remains in every family. When all five fingers in our hand are not equals and there is ‘manmutao’ (discord) between two brothers in my family, then the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is very large family. The RJD has no dearth of votes.”
Misa accidentally confirmed the news of discord. The media has been reporting about the rift between the two brothers but both have discredited the reports of rift and termed it as a conspiracy of the BJP and the RSS to divide the family and the party.
In the past, Tej Pratap Yadav has several times expressed his annoyance over being given less importance in the party than his younger brother. In 2015, when RJD formed a coalition government with JD(U) and the Congress; younger brother Tejashwi was installed as the Deputy CM of the state while Tej Pratap had to settle with the post of minister of health and environment and forest department.
According to the Times of India report, insiders in the RJD said, “Tej Pratap had expressed his annoyance at that time also, but could not speak up his mind before his father Lalu Prasad.” Soon after his marriage, Tej Pratap had alleged that he was being sidelined in the RJD.
In July, Tej Pratap threatened to quit politics. He took to social media (facebook) to express his dissatisfaction with his mother (former Chief Minister of Bihar), Rabri Devi, over not acknowledging the issues faced by him within the party. Hence, he is considering the option of leaving politics. According to a Republic TV report, Tej Pratap in his letter accused RJD leader Om Prakash Yadav and Member of Legislative Council, Subodh Kumar Rai for damaging his reputation. Tej Pratap claimed that he talked about this issue with his parents but then no action was taken against these leaders, instead his mother scolded him for the same.
Tej Pratap Yadav claimed that Om Prakash Yadav and Subodh Kumar Rai had referred him as mentally disturbed, and Joru Ka Ghulam (slave of his wife). He stated that he was under heavy pressure because of such insulting words and inaction from his mother’s side. Probably, this is the reason why he has decided to leave politics.
Later, his facebook post created a lot of controversy in social media and within half an hour he deleted the post. Later, he claimed that the RSS-BJP is behind all this FB Fiasco. Tej Pratap also claimed that his account was hacked by the RSS-BJP in order to create disharmony in the family. According to an Indian Express report, Tej Pratap wrote, “My account was hacked by the BJP and RSS IT Cell and they are saying ill about my family, trying to create a rift between us. Earlier, my father’s Facebook page was hacked by a BJP supporter and he was jailed for his actions. Bad things have been written initially about me and now my mother. Seeing our success, our opponents have stooped down to the lowest levels of politics.”
No matter how much both the brothers deny that news of rift within the party and the family, the truth is that all is not well within the party. Ahead of 2019 general elections such infighting is only going to harm the electoral prospect of the party. In 2009 and 2014 general elections there was almost no improvement in the performance of the party. In 2009 general elections, the RJD got 4 seats with 20.13% vote share in the state and in 2014 Lok Sabha elections it secured again 4 seats with 20.14% vote share in the state. In 2019 general elections, the party’s tally will only decline if it fails to pacify the infighting within the party. By the virtue of his surname, Tej Pratap can inflict sizeable damage to RJD’s prospects. This time RJD’s backbone-Lalu Prasad Yadav is also not with them. He is behind bars and the party is going through its worst phase. On the other hand, their opposition that is NDA is strongly united and they have almost finalized seat-sharing formula. Proposed grand alliance against the NDA in the state is scattered and also there is no strong strategy to counter the influence of the BJP led NDA in Bihar. The way things are going future of the proposed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar looks bleak and fight between Tejaswi and Tej Pratap is only going to add to its misery.