Patna: Loyalists of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav are convinced that his once infamous brother-in-law Anirudh Yadav, alias Sadhu Yadav, is behind the revolt by Lalu’s oldest son Tej Pratap, who Thursday announced that he was resigning as the patron of the RJD’s youth wing.
Tej Pratap, who has been playing second fiddle to younger brother Tejashwi Yadav — Lalu’s chosen political heir — had also taken to Twitter to express anger over his sister Misa Bharati being excluded from the party’s list of star campaigners.
“We should have guessed trouble was brewing the moment we saw Sadhu Yadav moving around in Patna. He usually lives in Delhi after he and his brother Subhash Yadav were banned from entering the house of Lalu and Rabri,” said a senior RJD leader. “Tej Pratap acts on the advice of Sadhu. He has hurt the RJD at a time when the party does not need any trouble.”
The senior leader pointed out that even in the messy divorce case filed by Tej Pratap against his wife Aishwarya Rai, Sadhu had publicly backed his nephew who was against the reconciliation efforts by Lalu and Rabri Devi. Sadhu, who is Rabri’s brother, had also hit out at RJD politicians who had rebuked him for his stand. “It is related to my family matters,” Sadhu had then said. “I do not interfere in politics.”
An RJD MLA alleged that Sadhu, who has been in the political wilderness for nearly a decade, is now attempting to revive his prospects through Tej Pratap. “Sadhu is now doing his politics through Tej Pratap,” the MLA said.
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Rumblings in RJD
The latest rift in the RJD first family comes in the middle of tense seat-sharing talks, between the Grand Alliance partners, for 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
Sources said that Tej Pratap wants the tickets in Jehanabad and Seohar for two of his close aides and had threatened to hold a press conference at 2.30 pm Thursday. They added that he decided against it only after Lalu, who is in judicial custody in Ranchi, sent an envoy pleading with him to refrain from speaking to journalists.
Although Tej Pratap relented, he took to Twitter to make his announcement in the evening.
It is, however, yet another instance of Tej Pratap making life uncomfortable for his younger brother, who has been helming the Grand Alliance.
The brothers, along with sister Misa, consider themselves the rightful heirs to Lalu’s political legacy. While the RJD chief has not publicly named a successor, he has left no one in doubt that he believes Tejashwi should take over the mantle.
“The trouble is that all three consider themselves as the rightful inheritor of Lalu’s legacy. Both Misa Bharati and Tej Pratap are creating hurdles for the smooth transfer to Tejashwi,” said another senior RJD leader.
“Misa has publicly conceded that there are differences between the brothers. Tejashwi has remained non-committal about giving Misa the ticket for the Patliputra parliamentary seat while Tej Pratap has been strongly backing her.”
The leader further alleged that it is Sadhu who is behind Tej Pratap’s actions against his brother.
“The two brothers broker a truce every now and then but it does not hold as Tej Pratap makes uncomfortable statements on a regular basis,” said an RJD MLA alleging that Sadhu was influencing Tej Pratap.
RJD leaders also stress that Tej Pratap cannot put up a real challenge to Tejashwi who has already been accepted by party supporters and leaders as the inheritor of Lalu’s legacy. “But it does create embarrassment for the party and its followers,” the MLA quoted above said.
The symbol of Bihar’s jungle raj
Sadhu, along with brother Subhash, was once derided as being the very symbol of the Jungle Raj under the Lalu-Rabri regime in Bihar. The two men, brothers of Rabri, wielded enormous clout in the late ’90s and the early 2000s and had a reputation of being brazen in their ways.
Things began to fall apart for the duo by the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when Lalu looked to distance himself from them. Denied a ticket, Sadhu jumped ship to the Congress when the party contested on its own.
The Congress fielded Sadhu from the Bettiah Lok Sabha constituency but he lost. His further efforts to become politically relevant also failed. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Sadhu had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bid to join the BJP. Any possible political rehabilitation was strongly opposed to by Bihar BJP leaders who pointed to his infamous past.
There is also little hope of him joining the RJD since being disavowed by Lalu. So strained is the relationship now that Sadhu did not invite Lalu to his daughter’s wedding while Lalu kept Sadhu away from Tej Pratap’s wedding in 2018.
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It is amazing that this casteist gang is able to garner so many votes, despite having no agenda other than “reservations till eternity”. Amazingly, the two young leaders did not even complete school in this era. Now the fake, fraudulent and manufactured theory of “centuries of denial” is no longer applicable. Who stopped them from studying? No one, though exclusive “caste-based” cash incentives from public money is given.
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