The feud in the RJD has the potential to damage its electoral prospects in the state.

 

New Delhi: The ongoing feud in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), between Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav and other senior leaders has the potential to damage its electoral prospects in the state. Tej Pratap, who served as the health minister in the Bihar government between 2015-17, has been creating trouble for the declared heir apparent of Lalu Yadav and his own younger brother Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, for quite some time. The party seems silent on the whole episode with leaders calling it a manufactured tussle by the rival parties. However, sources privy to the developments told The Sunday Guardian that in the coming days, things would get more confrontational with the whole party standing behind Tejashwi in the power struggle. Tej Pratap criticizing the senior leaders is not new, but now he is indirectly targeting Tejashwi.

The recent episode started with Tej Pratap calling the RJD state president Jagdanand Singh Hitler who runs the party office as a dictator and is ruining it. Singh responded by saying: “Who isTej Pratap Yadav? My accountability is towards Lalu Yadav,” and removed Tej Pratap’s close aide, Aakash Yadav, from the post of the party’s student wing president.

Since then, Tej Pratap has been targeting senior leaders and those close to Tejashwi. He had blamed Sanjay Yadav, Tejahswi’s political adviser, for the rift in the party and the family, even alleging that Sanjay Yadav is not letting him meet Tejashwi. He wrote on twitter, “The non-resident advisor on whose advice the party is being run, cannot even win panchayat election in his home state, how can he make my younger brother the chief minister?”

“Tej Pratap has previously questioned Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and now Jagdanand Singh and Sanjay Yadav, this has alarmed the leadership, the party has realized it’s necessary to put the foot down or else things might get out of hand,” a MLA of Bihar Legislative Assembly who wished to remain unnamed told The Sunday Guardian. “If the family would not stand behind them, he would target Tejashwi next,” he added. Tejashwi Yadav, the declared leader of the RJD, had made it clear that Tej Pratap had to follow the discipline of the party. The party leaders are tight-lipped on the issue, calling it an internal matter.

“There is no feud as such, everything is looked at by Lalu Prasad Yadavji,” said SubodhKumar, national spokesperson of the RJD.

Many political observers believe that it is an succession battle between Tej Pratp and Tejashwi. “We have seen what happened in the LJP after the death of Ramvilas Paswan; the same will happen in the RJD,” Ravindra Mishra, a social scientist based in Patna, said.

Many times, Tej Pratap had gone against the official position of the party. In the 2019 parliamentary elections, he fielded two candidates against the party which resulted in the RJD losing the Jahanabad Lok Sabha seat. The party tried to resolve the issue. The opposition is targeting the silence of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his inability to take concrete steps.

“The family feud started when Lalu Prasad Yadav is out on jail, it highlights the inability of Lalu Prasad to manage the ambitions of his family members as everyone wants to be stakeholder in the power share,” Neeraj kumar, chief spokesperson of Janata Dal United (JDU), and a three-time member of Bihar Legislative Council, told The Sunday Guardian.

“It is the internal matter of the RJD, but as someone who belongs to socialist politics, I can say that the RJD will see the same faith like Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party,” he added.