Confirming the ascension of Tejashwi Yadav as his political successor, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has stated that Tejashwi, his younger son, will lead the party in the next Bihar Assembly elections.
This formal clarity regarding Tejaswhi, coming from Lalu Prasad, is likely to start a political war within the party as many senior party leaders are unlikely to take the order without offering a resistance.
Lalu Prasad, while commenting on RJD state president Ram Chander Purve’s recent statement in which he suggested that Tejashwi Yadav should be the next RJD chief ministerial candidate, praised the “leadership quality” of Tejashwi and said that he was well ahead than many leaders. “He (Tejashwi) is way ahead of all of us in terms of leadership ability and oratory. I am not saying this merely because he is my son,” the RJD chief told reporters.
This is not the first time that Lalu Prasad has hinted that it will be Tejaswhi , who turned 28 on 9 November and is now Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, who was going to be his political successor rather than his elder son Tejpratap or his daughter Misa, who is a Rajya Sabha member and was the first one from the family, after Lalu and his mother Rabri Devi, to join politics. In July, when JDU left the Grand Alliance, then too Lalu had openly praised Tejashwi, saying that the “young boy” had done good work as a minister and Deputy CM in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet.
Despite being the younger son, it was Tejashwi who was appointed as the Deputy CM of the state and given key ministries and promoted as the face of the RJD, rather than his elder brother Tejpratap, who conducts himself in the same “rustic” manner for which his father is famous. However, the recent development received muted disagreement from a section of the party. Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh expressed his disagreement over Purve’s view and said that it was too premature to comment on the next chief ministerial candidate of the party. Singh, a former Union minister and one of the most senior party leaders, said that a good leadership should be allowed to emerge in the party by the time the state goes to the polls in 2020. “Our endeavour should be to work for the people of Bihar. They are our malik (master). It is the people who will put a stamp of approval on who should be the chief ministerial candidate,” Singh said. In the 2014 general elections, senior RJD leader Ram Kripal Yadav, who was one of closest friends of Lalu Prasad, had left RJD and contested and won the election on a BJP ticket from Pataliputra constituency after he was not given a ticket by Lalu Prasad because he wanted Misa to contest from that seat.