The recent byelection results in Bihar have come as a shot in the arm for Tejashwi Yadav, who has taken the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) baton from his father Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is in jail in the multi-crore fodder scam case.
RJD sources said his stature within the party has risen following the party retaining the Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Assembly constituencies, as the victories have silenced some of the old guard who were privately questioning his ability to lead the party.
“He single-handedly led the campaign during the byelection and, as a result, the party managed to retain the two seats, though the Bhabhua Assembly seat remained with the BJP. He has proved his mettle and established himself as the next generation leader of RJD,” said an RJD leader.
Sources said that in the absence of his father, Tejashwi Yadav has been successful in infusing a fresh lease of life within the party and in striking a balance between the old and new guards. “He is emerging as the next leader of RJD, which is the largest party in the Bihar Assembly. In the process, he is slowly becoming a central figure, around whom anti-BJP forces are likely to gravitate in the years to come,” said an RJD source.
After the results, Tejashwi Yadav had said: “It is time for penance for Nitish Kumar. This victory had taught some lessons to the betrayer of the 2015 mandate.”
He also said that the result has also boosted the prospects for a national alliance to take on the BJP in 2019 elections. “Laluji had long been talking about the need of the SP and BSP coming together. The result can be seen in Phulpur and Gorakhpur. Congress should come together with them. The dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi has set the ball rolling,” he said.
Tejashwi Yadav, sources said, is making a serious attempt to create his own identity, which is different from his father’s, while at the same time, he is trying to ensure that his core vote bank—the Yadavs and Muslims—remain intact.
Knowing the importance of communication, the young Tejashwi Yadav has been quite active on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter through which he communicates with workers and keeps a tab on what’s going on in remote parts of the state.
He has deployed a dedicated team for the purpose. The young leader has been able to successfully mobilise the youth into the Rashtriya Janata Dal fold.
The recent victory has definitely boosted the Leader of the Opposition, who has emerged as a powerful leader in the absence of his father.
Sources said he played a role in former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi joining the grand alliance in Bihar.