PATNA: Bihar’s Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government of three parties - JD(U), RJD and Congress - had long moments of unease on Tuesday as some leaders of RJD pitched for deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav as the successor to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
JD(U) leaders were peeved by the impassioned call made by an RJD legislator for Tejaswi to be made chief minister after Kumar and the way the statement was publicly supported by several RJD leaders. As JD(U) leaders slammed such statements, the inner contradictions between the two major constituents of the one-year-old alliance came to the fore once again.
Tejaswi Yadav, the 27-year-old younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, is a first-time MLA who was anointed deputy chief minister in November 2015 after RJD won the largest number of seats in the Assembly polls. He has no previous experience in politics just like his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, who was anointed health minister in the government led by JD(U) stalwart Nitish Kumar.
“In Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, a young leader, has been ruling successfully as chief minister for five years. The time has come now for a young leader, Tejaswi Yadav, to be made chief minister of Bihar,” said Surendra Yadav, the MLA from Belaganj, in Gaya on Monday. The deputy chief minister, who was in Gaya to address a gathering, however, sought to belittle this demand as “an individual opinion” and stressed that he was still learning the ropes of politics.
It is still unclear why Surendra Yadav, a long-time Lalu loyalist, made the statement, but sources in RJD said this is a part of the party’s long-term strategy to pave the way for Tejaswi for 2019 in the event of Nitish Kumar becoming prime minister as the choice of a non-BJP grand alliance of parties. However, sources in RJD also said that a section of the party feels it is now the right time to elevate Tejaswi Yadav as the CM because Nitish Kumar has “lost much of his shine” in the past one year.
“This is not a good indication for the alliance, which came to power as the people of Bihar voted for it with Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate. Such statements must stop immediately,” said JD(U) spokesperson and MLC Sanjay Singh.
“Has any JD(U) leader so far spoken anything about Lalu Prasad Yadav? RJD leaders are making irresponsible statements, and we are watching their words,” said Niraj Kumar, another JD(U) spokesperson and MLC.
Earlier, Bhagalpur MP and RJD youth wing national president Shailesh Kumar alias Bulo Mandal had spoken for Tejashwi being elevated as chief minister.