Patna: For long, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has overlooked what is perceived in Bihar’s political circles as the eccentricities of his oldest son, Tej Pratap.
The 30-year-old employs bouncers for his security, raising eyebrows in his party; has dressed himself up as Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna; has inspected a hospital, as the state health minister, drenched in colour because it was Holi; had taken his then newly-wed wife on a cycle trip before divorcing her barely six months into a high-profile marriage in 2018.
Lalu has also tolerated Tej Pratap repeatedly embarrassing the party, including recently resigning as the patron of the RJD’s youth wing, when it became clear that brother Tejashwi was the chosen heir.
All that, however, appears set to change.
On Monday, Tej Pratap rocked the state, after floating the Lalu Rabri Morcha, an outfit that he says will field candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, effectively against his own party.
The move, sources in the RJD told ThePrint, has angered his father Lalu so much that he has refused to speak to his son.
“He has hit and embarrassed the party when it is most vulnerable. His revolt comes barely 10 days before polling starts in Bihar,” said a former RJD MP.
“We did not believe he would go beyond theatrics,” said an RJD MLA.
And in the three days since, the party has also been tight-lipped on what efforts are being undertaken to assuage Tej Pratap.
RJD MLA Bhai Virendra, however, said Tej Pratap’s new outfit had no bearing on the party’s poll chances.
“To RJD workers, the party is led by Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and Tejashwi,” Virendra told ThePrint. “Tej Pratap does not come into the picture.”
The move has also given Lalu’s opponents enough fodder to taunt the family. “If Laluji cannot ensure justice in his own family, how can he ensure justice in society?” asked Deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
The problem child
Over the years, Tej Pratap has earned the reputation of being the family’s problem child.
RJD old-timers recall that they dreaded facing him at 1 Aney Marg, then chief minister Rabri Devi’s official residence. “I recall he pelted stones and food grains at ministers and IAS officers when they visited 1 Aney Marg. I have even seen him beat up a bodyguard,” a veteran RJD leader told ThePrint.
Never inclined towards studies, Tej Pratap took admission in a graduate course at Patna College but did not complete it.
It was during Nitish Kumar’s tenure as chief minister, between 2005 and 2010, that Tej Pratap was admitted into the Patna Flying Club where he trained to be a pilot. Nitish helped after Lalu telephoned him and made the request at a time when both were rivals. Tej Pratap, however, did not complete his course.
As a last resort, Lalu in 2013 opened the LaRa automobile outlet — a dealership of Honda bikes in Aurangabad.
“Laluji never wanted Tej Pratap to enter politics because he had chosen the more level-headed Tejashwi as his successor a long time ago,” said a close confidante. “Tej Pratap showed no interest in running the outlet and rarely visits it.”
Once it became clear that Tej Pratap would not give up on a political career, Lalu then sought to broker a compromise. In 2015, when the RJD came to power in alliance with Nitish’s JD(U), Tej Pratap was handed an important ministerial portfolio such as health while Tejashwi was handed the deputy chief minister’s post.
Tejashwi managed to stay away from the limelight when in power but Tej Pratap continued to court controversies. He deputed ambulances outside his house, formed an outfit called the DSS on the pattern of RSS and attempted to make a film with himself as a hero.
Nitish, as CM of the grand alliance government, also ensured that he never faced questions inside the legislative bodies and no discussions came up, even during budgets, on departments headed by Tej Pratap.
Also read: In latest Tej Pratap-Tejashwi rift, an old family hand makes an appearance
The rift in the family
Time and again, Tej Pratap has made it clear that he did not accept the leadership of Tejashwi. “I am Lord Krishna and Tejashwi is Arjuna. Without Lord Krishna, Arjuna cannot achieve anything,” he had once told party leaders and supporters at a state-level party meeting in Patna.
His statements such as threatening to “skin the PM alive”, after his father’s Z+ security cover was withdrawn, has left RJD leaders red-faced.
Last year, he made Tejashwi leave an event, which involved cycling from Gaya to Patna, midway after announcing a programme at the same venue on the same day.
RJD leaders said Tej Pratap routinely needles the family as he has the backing of Lalu’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti and his uncle Sadhu Yadav, who is Rabri Devi’s brother
They, however, dismiss the possibility of Tej Pratap making a dent in their voter base.
“The leader of a party is the one who is accepted by followers. Lalu’s followers have accepted Tejashwi as their successor. Tej Pratap has just a few hangers on by his side,” said the former RJP MP.
“One positive impact of this whole episode is that Tej Pratap may have cleared the decks for Tejashwi Yadav to take over as the national president of the party. It is a post that Laluji was reluctant to part with, fearing it may escalate the family feud but with this revolt, he may be finally willing to hand it over to Tejashwi.”
Also read: Men are also victims of patriarchy. Just ask Tej Pratap Yadav
The universal rule is “Quanlity and quantity can not go together. More the quantity less the quality and vice versa”
Lalu and Rabri produced a brood of nine which those days also was a stupid thing to do. Lalu, so called educated man, was very proud of his this feat. Many times he used to boast about having nine children. He never felt ashamed about it.
Hence quality could not be maintained. The boys are school dropouts who are fit for nothing. The parents who themselves were terribly lacking discipline and values certainly could not pass them own to the progeny.
Now the result is there for everyone to see. In the days to come there is more trouble for the family and from within the family. Besides, sooner or later, the investigating agencies will be taking on the hook the remaining members of Lalu family also. Politically this family is finished.
You reap what you sow..Lalu deserves worse than this..ask scores of people who suffered at Lalu’s hands..serves him right..
Lalu is paid by his own coin
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