Patna: It was in May 2018, at the wedding of his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, when RJD leader and son of former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, was disgusted by the chaos at the function. “When I marry I will do it silently and post a photo later on social media,” he had told a close associate.
On Thursday, he did what he said. Tejashwi’s wedding with Rachel Godinho was a close family affair with only former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav seen among the guests. Among RJD leaders, only MP Prem Gupta was at the wedding.
It was Rohini Acharya, Tejashwi’s Singapore-based sister, who confirmed the wedding and the bride’s name in a tweet.
हम नही है पास फिर भी मेरा आशीर्वाद है दोनो के साथ😘🤗 congratulations tutu nd Rachel 😘Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness!🌷🥂 pic.twitter.com/JF567vMqyL
— Rohini Acharya (@RohiniAcharya2) December 9, 2021
Later, Tej Pratap also tweeted photos of the wedding.
ज़िंदगी की नई पारी की शुरूआत के लिए “अर्जुन” को अथाह आशीर्वाद।
भगवान इस नई जोड़ी को ताउम्र दुनिया की हर ख़ुशियों से नवाज़ें, ऐसी कामना करता हूँ। pic.twitter.com/yHXqOG7iJF
— Tej Pratap Yadav (@TejYadav14) December 9, 2021
Who is Rachel?
While not much is known about Rachel, a close associate of Tejashwi said she belongs to a Christian family from Haryana and has been living in Delhi since childhood.
According to sources, Rachel and Tejashwi studied together at DPS school in RK Puram, New Delhi.
However, their relationship remained discreet.
It was in 2015 when a photo of Tejashwi with a girl went viral and was used by the Opposition to target the RJD leader.
“It’s the same girl and the photo is of a party thrown by IPL team Delhi Daredevils, the team with which Tejashwi was associated with as a cricketer,” said Tejashwi’s close associate quoted above.
On Twitter, Rachel has been following Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi’s mother and former CM Rabri Devi, and Tejashwi’s sister Misa Bharti. She has also retweeted several anti-BJP news.
Bihar RJD leaders unaware
RJD leaders in Bihar were completely in the dark over Tejashwi’s wedding. On Tuesday there were reports about the soon-to-be held ring ceremony.
“I have not received any invitation. It will probably be given in the marriage,” RJD leader and former finance minister of Bihar, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, told ThePrint Wednesday. But the ring ceremony held at Misa Bharti’s farmhouse in Delhi Thursday was followed by Tejashwi’s wedding, leaving RJD leaders, who were hoping to get an invitation, shocked.
On Tuesday, RJD MLA Bhai Birender distributed sweets at the party’s Patna office. On being asked about the bride’s name he conceded that he had no clue.
It was on Thursday that state party chief Jagdanand Singh announced that the girl was a Christian and didn’t belong to a political family. “Tejashwi has done a brave thing and he has the blessings of crores of his supporters,” said Jagdanand Singh.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated Tejashwi, while subtly expressing disappointment over not being informed, let alone being invited.
Tejashwi’s close associates also point out that he had remained steadfast against the resistance of his family members for marrying out of the Yadav caste.
Family members upset too
No invitation or information has left a section of family members angry too.
“I did not receive any invitation. I had received an invitation on Tej Pratap’s marriage,” said Tejashwi’s uncle Sadhu Yadav, adding that Yadavs will be angry over Tejashwi marrying a Christian.
Lalu’s younger brother Sukhdev Yadav, however, told media that there will be a reception in Patna.
RJD leaders, however, do not agree. “Akhilesh Yadav had an inter-caste wedding. Sachin Pilot’s marriage was inter-religion. Even Sushil Kumar Modi married a Christian. It did not affect their political career on this account. Why should it affect Tejashwi Yadav’s political graph?” asked RJD MLA Sameer Mahaseth.
Apart from Tejashwi’s wish, it was Lalu Prasad’s poor health that prompted the family to keep the wedding a low-key ceremony in Delhi.
Earlier, the wedding functions of Lalu’s other children in Patna have been chaotic, with not only VIPs in attendance but also a large number of ‘uninvited guests’, or the RJD supporters. It was at Tej Pratap’s wedding when an unruly crowd started looting food and the entire area was strewn with broken crockery and upturned tables.
“In Laluji’s present fragile health condition, it was thought that it would be better to avoid such a situation,” said the close associate.
However, one person who didn’t attend the wedding Thursday was Aishwarya Roy, wife of Tej Pratap Yadav. The divorce petition filed by Tej Pratap is still pending in a Patna court, even as there are talks of reconciliation.