Bihar politics: Lalu Yadav intent on projecting son Tejashwi as leader of non-BJP forces in 27 Aug rally

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is trying to project his son and political heir apparent, Tejashwi Yadav, as a leader of non-Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) forces in the 27 August ‘Desh Bachao - Bhajpa Bhagao’ rally planned by Yadav in Patna.

Tejashwi has been painted as Baahubali in hoardings placed at various places in the state. He also, recently, posted a video showing himself as Baahubali who was killed by Kattappa (Nitish).

The RJD leader has been playing the victim in the Assembly and outside during his statewide ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’, alleging chief minister Nitish Kumar of backstabbing him and insulting the popular mandate by breaking the Mahagathbandhan and forming a new government with the help of BJP-led NDA.

File image of Lalu Prasad. AFP

File image of Lalu Prasad. AFP

Lalu Yadav, convicted in a fodder scam case, cannot contest elections and is trying his level best to push his 28-year-old younger son as an acceptable leader to non-NDA parties in the state. He has been supporting Tejashwi’s moves inside the Assembly which has witnessed uproarious scenes over the Srijan scam. Tejashwi, leader of Opposition in the Assembly, has demanded resignation of the chief minister and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi saying the scam took place when NDA was in power in the state between 2005 and 2013.

But Lalu’s efforts have hit a road block as Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati will not be attending the rally. However, Lalu Yadav tried to downplay their absence on Thursday saying, "Sonia ji is not well but CP Joshi and Ghulam Nabi Azad will represent the Congress party."

Others who will speak at the rally are: Satish Mishra from BSP, Akhilesh Yadav from Samajwadi Party (SP), Mamata Banerjee from Trinamool Congress (TMC), Farooq Abdullah from National Conference and rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.

RJD spokesman Manoj Jha told News18 that Tejashwi has groomed himself as a firebrand young leader and his speech in the Assembly as leader of Opposition has been appreciated by all Opposition leaders. “In our democracy it is important to see who can bring votes for the party. So we all are encouraging Tejashwi to take the fight ahead against BJP,” he said.

When asked that if Rahul Gandhi could join Sharad Yadav’s conclave, then why not Lalu’s rally, Jha evasively said representation is more important than a leader. Notably, Rahul Gandhi has not shared the dais with Lalu since he was convicted in the fodder scam in 2013.

Earlier, Lalu had said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's would also participate in the rally but he later informed his inability to join the rally.

In the midst of all this, the ruling JD(U) and BJP claim that the Opposition is in disarray and the rally will be a huge flop. All NDA constituents have attacked Lalu for not postponing the rally as the state is facing a severe flood situation. BJP state president Nityanad Rai sarcastically termed RJD’s rally as ‘Pariwar Bachao - Rajniti Chamkao’.

The state unit of the Congress party is also in two minds as the party has already decided to hold a rally in the same Gandhi Maidan in September or October. State Congress president Ashok Chaudhary publicly said that his party did not endorse RJD’s demand of chief minister’s resignation.

A section of the Congress conveyed to Jyotiraditya Scindia, when he was in Patna amid reports of possible split in the party, that the party should focus on strengthening its base instead of following any regional party which has only eroded its base in the past.

Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 15:55 PM

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