NEW DELHI: A few months before Lalu Prasad Yadav put together the grand alliance with the JDU’s Nitish Kumar to take on the BJP in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, he considered it an opportune moment to introduce his two sons, Tej Pratap and C, to the rough and tumble of state politics. It did not take the brothers too long to expose themselves as utter novices if not completely unsuited to Bihar’s political cesspool.
While Tej Pratap, who won the Mahua assembly seat, was found to be in a perpetual “state of drift”, the younger Tejashwi, who took the Raghopur constituency (in Vaishali district), was seen to hold some promise. Both were school dropouts.
Tej Pratap quit middle school in his ancestral Gopalganj, while Tejashwi sought to hone his cricketing skills, dropping out of Delhi Public School without taking the Class X examination.
When the mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) experiment failed, after Nitish broke the alliance with Lalu and the Congress, Tejashwi, who was deputy chief minister in the 2015 coalition government, worked hard to master the slippery slope of politics. Tej Pratap, however, continued to live indifferently. Like his father, Tejashwi has also had a brush with the law when the CBI questioned him in 2017 in connection with an alleged IRCTC scam.
But it was only after Tejashwi tied the nuptial knot with his old flame Rachel Godinho in 2021 that fortune designed to smile on him. Today, Tejashwi has wrested back the reins of state politics, having teamed up with Bihar’s best-known palturam (turncoat) ‘Kursi’ Kumar (Nitish) to give a stunning blow to the latter’s estranged suitor, the BJP. For the second time in seven years, Tejashwi is Bihar’s deputy chief minister again. He is now in the care of his “Paltu Chacha”, the very moniker that he would use to previously describe Nitish.
At 32, Tejashwi has begun to mature in politics. The caste census issue helped push Tejashwi to begin a dialogue with the chief minister, who was itching to look for another partner. Meeting behind closed doors in the official chamber of CM in the state assembly, the two worked out the nitty-gritties of working together again. The terms of the deal, of course, was to include elder brother Tejpratap on the council of ministers. And it worked out wisely recently. Tejashwi knows that “timing” is important both in politics and cricket. Working on Nitish to break with the BJP was no mean achievement. The coup de grace was timed – and delivered – to perfection.
DEPUTY CM FOR SECOND TIME IN SEVEN YEARS
For the second time in seven years, Tejashwi is Bihar’s deputy chief minister again. He is now in the care of his “Paltu Chacha”, the very moniker that he would use to previously describe Nitish