The political turf in Bihar is getting charged up and new intriguing sub-plots are emerging one after another. In the latest episode of the troublesome Lalu Yadav family saga, it has been brought to light that senior party leader Chandrika Rai along with two other RJD members have ditched the Lalten party and joined their rivals Janta Dal-United (JDU) for the upcoming elections.
Bihar: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLAs Chandrika Rai (also the father-in-law of RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav), Jaivardhan Yadav and Faraz Fatmi joined Janata Dal (United) in Patna today. pic.twitter.com/1JAKVfyb3V
— ANI (@ANI) August 20, 2020
Chandrika Rai is the father-in-law of Lalu Yadav’s eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav. He fell out with Prasad’s family after Tej Pratap filed for divorce months after marrying Aishwarya in 2018.
Chandrika’s daughter Aishwarya Rai had married Tej Pratap in 2018 amid much fanfare but soon trouble began brewing in the paradise.
Six months after the wedding, Tej Pratap filed for divorce citing compatibility issues. Whereas news reports started doing the rounds that Rabri Devi had assaulted and tortured Aishwarya Rai for dowry.
The divorce case is still pending in the court and Aishwarya is living in his father’s house. Before dropping the bomb on Lalu Yadav, Rai had distanced himself from the party as he was attending no meetings and organizational camps.
The animosity-ridden divorce of Chandrika Rai and RJD doesn’t augur well for the latter. Rai holds significant sway over the Bhojpuri speaking belt and his siding with JDU strengthens the party which is facing some serious anti-incumbency in the state.
Rai is the son of former Bihar chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai. He had become a member of the Bihar legislative assembly (MLA) for the first time on a Congress ticket in 1985. However, he was denied a ticket by the Congress for a second successive term but he didn’t budge and won the election as an Independent and later joined the RJD.
He was a prominent member of successive RJD governments, helmed by Prasad and then by his wife Rabri Devi following his indictment in the fodder scam.
Rai was also a minister in the short-lived mahagathbandhan, or the grand alliance government, among the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress.
The ex-RJD leader had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Saran constituency and was defeated but he alleged that it was Tej Pratap that had campaigned against him to ensure he lost the seat.
Chandrika Rai didn’t say outrightly but hinted that her daughter could fight the election against the Yadav siblings.
“I am not saying so, but there have been speculations in media whether Aishwarya would contest or not. She may or may not contest election,” said Rai.
Rai further took a dig at the Lalu Yadav’s sons and remarked that both were looking for safe-seats in the state when there was none available for them.
“It is quite surprising that both brothers are looking for safe seats despite they being Lalu Prasad’s sons and leader of the opposition and makes tall claims of returning to power, I want to say there are no safe seats for them in the state,” he said.
Tejshawi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav scurrying around looking for safe seats is a political move that many would have seen coming. The Bhojpuri belt seats have been a big vote bank for RJD because of the presence of Yadav’s over the years. However, Chandrika Rai also holds considerable influence over the same demography of voters and if he chalks up even a mediocre election campaign then the Yadav votes could land in JDU’s lap.
Keeping these permutations and combinations in mind, the Yadav siblings have been running from pillar to post to secure a safe seat.
Rai bringing out the family-secret of ‘safe-seat’ did not sit well with Tej Pratap as he took vicious digs at Chandrika Rai.
“He has no status and no existence, how come he will affect the RJD. The people do not love him, they love Laluji,” said Tej Pratap Yadav.
“JD(U) won’t gain anything from Chandrika Rai joining their party. Many JD(U) MLAs are in touch with us and we will give you news of them joining RJD within 4-5 days,” he further continued.
Lalu’s blind-love for his sons was the reason that RJD could not even open its account in the Lok Sabha election for the first time in its history. The assembly elections in the state are slated to be held at the end of this year and RJD seems pretty wobbly in its campaign under the leadership of Tej Pratap.
After Raghuvansh Yadav resigned from the party post, the exit of Chandrika Rai will further haunt the prospect of RJD in the state and it looks like the ex-samdhi is channelling his inner anger to take apart the RJD clan.