Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son Tej Pratap miffed at being sidelined in party, accuses RJD state chief of neglect
Tej Pratap, who also heads RJD’s youth wing and has founded an organisation called Dharmnirpeksh Sevak Sangh, said he was upset by the neglect shown to youth leaders in the party.
PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder son and Bihar’s former health minister Tej Pratap Yadav on Sunday accused the party’s state chief and Lalu’s trusted aide Ram Chandra Purve of deliberately ignoring him and the party’s youth leadership.
The 29-year-old Tej Pratap, however, denied there was any rift between him and his younger brother Tejashwi Yadav, 28, who is the leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly. Describing Tejashwi as “a piece of my heart,” he dismissed the widespread impressions of rift fuelled by his tweets on Saturday as “mere rumours”.
Tej Pratap, who got married in a spectacular ceremony attended by several Opposition leaders from across the country last month, said RJD’s state unit president Ram Chandra Purve had been cold-shouldering his requests to place young Dalit leaders in certain positions in the party.
“Some young, hard-working and promising Dalit leaders who joined the party wanted to have some posts. I had requested Purve to give him a post in the party, but he kept ignoring this request. It finally happened after I raised the matter with my parents and younger brother,” said Tej Pratap to reporters.
The matter pertains to the recent appointment of Rajendra Paswan, who is close to Tej Pratap, as one of RJD’s state general secretaries. Tej Pratap, who also heads RJD’s youth wing and has founded an organisation called Dharmnirpeksh Sevak Sangh (DSS) to counter the influence of RSS in Bihar, said he was upset by the neglect shown to youth leaders in the party.
Tejashwi Yadav, who served as Bihar’s deputy chief minister for 20 months till July 2017, defended his elder brother. “Whatever he has said is in the interests of the party. All of us in RJD are working hard to strengthen the party and to take on the divisive forces working against Bihar’s interests,” said Tejashwi, who is Lalu Prasad Yadav’s heir apparent and set to be the RJD-led grand alliance’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2020 Assembly polls.
Purve, 68, one of RJD’s senior-most leaders, has been a long-trusted aide of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Hailing from a backward caste, he earlier served as a minister in the governments led by Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi. When Lalu went to jail for the first time in the fodder scam cases in 1997 and anointed Rabri Devi as CM, only she and Purve had taken oath of office together, and the cabinet was expanded later.
Despite losing Assembly polls several times, Purve has been retained as RJD’s state president. He was nominated to Bihar Legislative Council along with Rabri Devi last month. When asked about Tej Pratap’s allegations, Purve evaded the questions and did not utter a single word on Sunday.