PATNA: As RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav turned 70 on Monday, his two sons put up a united show of bonhomie by celebrating the occasion with a 71-pound cake surrounded by hundreds of leaders and workers of the party.
Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav welcomed several senior leaders of RJD, Congress and HAM who came visiting to wish an ailing Lalu, who is currently on a six-week bail granted by Jharkhand High Court on medical grounds. Lalu briefly met the leaders and
Accompanied by their mother and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, the two brothers cut a 71-pound cake and said the day would be celebrated across the country as “Social Justice Day”.
Tej Pratap, who is the elder son and Bihar’s former health minister, said he has “absolutely no rift” with Tejashwi Yadav, currently Bihar’s Opposition leader. After the celebration at Tejashwi’s 5, Deshratna Marg official residence, a smiling Tej Pratap put a green cap of the party on Tejashwi’s head and also gave him a ride in his car in presence of journalists to dispel any impressions of a rift between the two.
“This car is like the chariot in the Mahabharat. He (Tejashwi) is my Arjuna, and I am the charioteer. I will not take rest till I put him in the throne of Hastinapur,” said Tej Pratap to reporters before driving away with Tejashwi beside him. Just two days ago, Tej Pratap had created ripples in the party and Bihar’s politics by his tweets that many interpreted as suggestive of his unhappiness with Tejashwi and RJD’s senior leaders.
Tej Pratap said “rumours of the rift” were being spread by “RSS and BJP people”. He also said a search is on for a “very beautiful” girl to be Tejashwi’s bride and that the wedding would take place soon.
In a U-turn on RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve, Tej Pratap praised him and said he is a “very respectable senior leader and my guardian”. Tej Pratap had openly accused Purve, one of Lalu’s longtime trusted aides, of deliberately ignoring his suggestions in party affairs.
“There is no rift either between the two brothers or in the party. All is well. Our unity is strong like a cemented floor,” said Rabri Devi.
Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar and several leaders from various parties wished Lalu good health and many returns of the day through tweets. They included West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, NCP’s Praful Patel, Union Minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, LJD leader Sharad Yadav.
HAM leader and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, who met Lalu to wish him, later said Upendra Kushwaha is likely to join the RJD-led grand alliance soon.