PATNA: Even as RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav continues his latest yatra in Bihar and addresses rallies to galvanise the party’s support base ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, widening rifts within his family are raising question marks over the party’s preparedness and strategies to face the electorate.
Despite a show of unity Tejashwi, who is the Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, and his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, an MLA and former minister, presented recently, many in the party are worried about the “utter lack of coordination” between the two brothers. Besides, their eldest sister Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha member keen to contest the coming Lok Sabha polls, is reportedly remaining aloof from the two brothers’ political activities.
Tejashwi, currently RJD’s de-facto chief in the absence of his father and party president Lalu Prasad Yadav, started his statewide ‘Increase Reservation, Remove Unemployment’ yatra from Darbhanga on Thursday. While RJD leaders expected that Tej Pratap Yadav and his supporters would be a part of this programme, they were disappointed.
Tej Pratap, 30, has been carrying on his statewide ‘Badlav Yatra’ (campaign for change), which he started on February 1 from Sheohar. Senior RJD leaders are unimpressed by Tej Pratap’s political activities, worried that they are presenting a “divided picture” of the party. All advice to Tej Pratap, known for his whimsical ways, have fallen to deaf ears, they said.
At his generally well-attended rallies, Tej Pratap has been seen playing the flute, blowing conch shells and even flying drone cameras. “While all this is good to grab media attention and win the hearts of the youth, these activities also accentuate the impression that he (Tej Pratap) is not a serious politician like his younger brother,” said an RJD general secretary wishing not to be named.
“The two brothers appear unwilling to help each other’s political programmes succeed. They are also unwilling to jointly plan, launch and execute the party’s political programmes,” said another senior RJD leader.
Misa Bharti, who is keen on contesting the LS polls for Pataliputra seat, is reportedly unhappy because neither Tejashwi nor Tej Pratap has intervened to assure her of a party ticket. Senior RJD leader and MLA Bhai Birendra has staked a claim to the seat, which Bharti lost in her political debut in the last LS polls.
“The two brothers’ separate yatras are visible manifestations of the conflicts and quarrels smoldering in their family. With the polls nearing, they are speaking of change, reservation and unemployment to divert people’s attention from the widening gulf between them,” said ruling BJP leader Nitin Navin.
Sanjay Singh, the spokesperson of the ruling JD(U), said: “He (Tejashwi) should tell the electorate during his yatra how he acquired huge assets in such a short time. The fact that he and his brother have gone on two different yatras shows that there is a Mahabharat war within their family”.