The news of thr rift between brothers–Tej Pratap and Tejashwi–in the Rashtriya Janta Party has been rife for sometime. It is said that Tej Pratap is not happy with the way the party office bearers have been functioning. Now, he has floated a new students’ body.
Tej Pratap Yadav launched the Chhatra Janshakti Parishad two days ago and claimed that it was not meant to pose any challenge to the Chhatra RJD, the party’s official student wing, but work towards “mobilizing youth at the village level”.
The maverick MLA came out with the announcement, claiming, as always, that he had “the blessings of Lalu Prasad”, at a time when he was left licking his wounds after losing the battle in a tug of war with state RJD chief Jagadanand Singh.
Singh, known to be close to Yadav’s younger and more powerful sibling Tejashwi Yadav, had earned the wrath of the mercurial elder brother recently when he sacked Akash Yadav as the state president of Chhatra RJD. Though there was no official word on the reasons behind the removal of Akash Yadav, one of the few close friends of Tej Pratap Yadav, it was widely believed that the blame fell on him when posters came up in the city recently in which images of Tejashwi, now the party’s de-facto leader, were conspicuous by absence. Sensing that it could further diminish his clout, Tej Pratap Yadav had reacted furiously, likening Jagadanand Singh to ‘Hitler’, who refused to visit the party office for days in protest, until he was, understandably, mollified by Tejashwi.
Meanwhile, Akash Yadav realised that time was up for him in the RJD, where he was seen as aligned with a leader who did not have power despite pedigree, and joined the Lok Janshakti Party.
RJD rank and file, which has been witness to Tej Pratap Yadav’s tantrums for a while, viewed the development with bemusement. Speaking on condition of anonymity, some of them pointed out that the volatile leader had reacted similarly during the Lok Sabha polls of 2019 when he floated a ‘Lalu Rabri Morcha’ when his cronies were denied tickets. They agree that the fact of being the son of Lalu Prasad and rustic mannerisms reminding the masses of his legendary father make Tej Pratap Yadav more than a pushover.
Nonetheless, few in the party believe that he can muster the tenacity of purpose which was required if he wished to emerge as a credible centre of power since the RJD seems to have reconciled itself to Prasad having anointed the younger son as his heir apparent.
The fresh episode in what looks like an unequal war of succession has brought some glee to the BJP, which sees the RJD as the main hurdle in its quest for becoming the numero uno political force in Bihar. “Tej Pratap Yadav is fighting for his survival and we sympathize with him. His father has treated the party as a personal fiefdom and failed to do justice to his own son,” state BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said in a statement.
He also added that “it is ironic, and a poor reflection on the RJD that Tej Pratap Yadav, who never cared to educate himself, shall be floating a students’ body. No wonder the party has lost trust of the people”.