Lalu Yadav, the veteran socialist leader is back in active politics. He addressed the party workers on the 25th foundation day of the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). However, it seems the party is no longer in the mood to incorporate him because his image as an alleged corrupt leader could harm the prospects of the party. And, it seems that his sons – Tejashwi and Tej Pratap Yadav have overshadowed him manifold in Bihar politics.
Previously, during the Bihar assembly election, several party leaders, including even his son Tejashwi Yadav, avoided mentioning Lalu Yadav in their speeches and kept him in the background in the party posters. In an era where every party is hell-bent to prove that it does not have a single dent of corruption, because the voters do not want a corrupt party to come into power, Lalu’s brand of politics is not only obsolete but harmful, too.
Lalu even tried to twist the popular narrative of the alleged ‘jungle raj‘ during his tenure, as projected by the opposition politician. “My regime was not jungle raj as is projected by rivals. It was the rule of the poor. During the last Lok Sabha and assembly elections, I wanted to come out [of jail] but could not”, he said as party leaders, including his two legislator sons, and workers watched him on a large TV screen at the party headquarters in Patna.
Lalu hailed party workers and commended both his sons for their oratory skills. “I want to assure the people that we’re not going to step back and will not be cowed down by the pressure and conspiracies of our political rivals. Tejashwi should not be discouraged, as the future of RJD is very bright and we’ll take the country ahead,” he said.
Lalu also mentioned older party leaders like Jagdanand Tiwari, Shivanand Tiwari, Shyam Rajak and, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, among others to remind the younger leaders that it was not he but also the younger leaders who have worked hard to build the party. However, the younger leadership of the party has shifted him to Delhi and he is now in Margdarshak Mandal (advisory board).
Previously during the assembly election, the parties of the alliance including Congress have expressed their reservations about the leadership ability of Tejashwi Yadav and want to fight under the leadership of Lalu Yadav despite the fact that the charismatic leader was serving a jail sentence in the alleged corruption case.
But, to ensure that there is no confusion over the fact on who is leading the mahagathbandhan and who is the chief ministerial face, the RJD had removed Lalu Yadav from the posters and put Tejashwi Yadav in plus size. In fact, the party projected the junior Yadav as the upcoming CM of Bihar.
On this, even a few leaders like Upendra Kushwaha have ditched the alliance. “The leadership proposed by the RJD to fight with NDA cannot defeat Nitish Kumar and I can’t stand behind such leadership,” Upendra Kushwaha, the leader of the party told party workers in Patna. “It’s not about seat-sharing. I am ready to fight on a few seats and would make my people understand this because it is for Bihar. But not with this leadership,” he added.
However, this made no difference to RJD and the party has made it clear that Tejashwi Yadav is the leader of mahagathbandhan, and the chief ministerial candidate, too. And now Lalu Yadav is conveniently shifted to Margdarshak Mandal – despite the fact that he is out of jail – as Tejashwi Yadav and his confidantes take over the party leadership.