A recent statement by Bhagalpur MP Shailesh Kumar alias Bulo Mandal of the Rahtriya Janata Dal recommending that party president Lalu Yadav’s younger son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav be made the Chief Minister of Bihar by next year has caused friction in the Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar. Mandal, who is one of the four RJD members in the Lok Sabha, is considered close to the Lalu Yadav family. He made the statement after meeting Yadav in Patna. Mandal, who had made the statement last week in Muzzafarpur as well, reiterated his demand to promote Tejashwai as Bihar CM. While talking to The Sunday Guardian, he said incumbent Nitish Kumar should not feel bad as “change is natural and Nitish should recall that he too has replaced Lalu Yadav.”

According to party sources, Lalu Yadav has convened a meeting of existing and former party MPs and MLAs in Patna on 30 August and something significant can be expected from this meeting. The RJD is likely to make a bid for installing Tejashwi Yadav as CM and pitch for making the CM’s post rotational.

Mandal told The Sunday Guardian that the work towards installing Tejashwi has already started in the state and the result will be seen soon.

Mandal made the statement when Tejashwi is out of India.

“This demand (of making Tejashwi the CM) has not come up all of a sudden. I have been visiting the various districts of Bihar and wherever I go, I see that the youth of Bihar have made up their mind to have Tejashwi as CM. They see their hope and future in him and we are working towards making that possible. Until he becomes the CM, we will keep working towards it,” said Mandal.

Mandal stated that Nitish Kumar, who is running a coalition government in Bihar with the help of the RJD and Congress, will not be upset as “change is the rule of nature”. “Nitishji won’t mind; why should he? Laluji was also a CM at one time, Nitish ji is CM presently. Change is the rule of nature,” he said.

The Nitish Kumar led government might be in danger if the RJD decides to move a resolution within the party to make Tejashwi the CM.

In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, RJD has 80 MLAs, JDU has 71, Congress has 27, whereas the rest of the non-NDA parties and independents have seven MLAs (CPI-ML, three; Independent, four).

According to political observers in Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav will not have much difficulty in getting 122 MLAs to support his son as CM.

“If we add the Congress, CPI-ML and Independents to our tally, we will have 114 MLAs. How difficult do you think will it be for Laluji to get eight MLAs from other parties to reach the magic figure of 122? We are not saying that Nitish Kumar is going to be replaced, we are just saying that the youth of Bihar is pushing for Tejashwi Yadav as the CM,” a senior RJD party leader told The Sunday Guardian .

Even though the relationship between the RJD and JDU appears smooth on the surface, party insiders say that differences were simmering between the two over issues like prohibition of liquor in the state and on the transfer of officials.

Lalu Yadav feels that his orders are being ignored by Nitish Kumar. The two parties are also having differences of opinion over fighting the elections in Uttar Pradesh. While Nitish is seriously working on how to win seats in UP, Lalu is unlikely to put up any RJD candidates in order to ensure that Yadav voters support Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party en bloc.


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