PATNA: A day after Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti caused a flutter with her comments about "rift" between her two brothers, her younger sibling Tej Pratap Yadav on Tuesday asserted there was no infighting in his family, even as Tejashwi ducked questions on the issue.
While Tej Pratap took to Twitter to categorically deny any right within the family, Tejashwi, former deputy chief minister and current leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly, was posed with questions by journalists on the comments his sister made in Maner near here on Monday.
Yadav, who is normally known to be media savvy, avoided any direct answer and rushed to his car saying, "I do not know anything about this matter. I have nothing to say".
Addressing party workers in Maner on the outskirts of Patna, RJD's Rajya Sabha member Bharti had asked them to give up bickering and stay united.
"Even our family has witnessed a rift between two brothers but where do differences not come up? Five fingers of our hands are not equal. But the RJD is like a big family," Bharti said.
"We are not lacking in support base. The challenge is to keep our flock together," she added.
Hours after her comments created a flutter in political circles, Bharti tweeted that her words were being quoted out of context.
"I strongly deny the news item (about her acknowledging a rift within the family)," she said.
Maner forms part of Patliputra Lok Sabha seat from where Misa Bharti had lost to union minister of state Ramkripal Yadav in 2014 poll.
Tej Pratap Yadav, whose cryptic remarks in the recent past have given rise to the speculation that he shared an uneasy relationship with his brother Tejashwi, blamed the opposition parties and the media for the confusion.
"The opposition, as well as the media immensely, enjoy searching for bad blood within the Lalu family. You may live in illusions, we are happy. But you are in for a huge disappointment there is no rift, neither in Lalu family, nor in the bigger RJD family", Yadav tweeted.
Facing electoral disqualification following conviction in cases of multi-crore fodder scam, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad has been working to establish his children in politics to carry the legacy.
Tejashwi is seen by many as Lalu's heir apparent and was deputy chief minister when RJD was in power as part of the grand alliance government in the state and has been a leader of the opposition after that government collapsed.
Tej Pratap, who was health minister in the grand alliance government, is an MLA from Mahua in Vaishali district.
Misa Bharti, the eldest of the nine children of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, became a Rajya Sabha member after losing Lok Sabha elections.
RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary also issued a statement to clarify Bharti's statement, saying "a general remark" by her that "rift was common among brothers in families was made to appear as if she was speaking about her own family".
However, BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand took potshots at Bharti with a series of tweets.
In one of the tweets, he asked, "Why are you so afraid of your little brother that you have to issue a denial? Had your family not discriminated against its daughters, you would have been the RJD's de facto leader and not Tejashwi Yadav".
Sanjay Singh, the spokesman of the JD(U) which shares power in the state with the BJP, tweeted, "The infighting in the family will soon spill over and engulf the entire party. The RJD will be divided into several factions headed by Tejashwi, Tej Pratap, Misa and Rabri Devi".